Thursday, June 18, 2009

Be the Match!

Until June 22, the National Marrow Donor Program will be offering free kits to people who would like to register to become a bone marrow donor. There is usually a fee to sign up, but if you go here and fill out a very short form, the NMDP will send you a kit free of charge. All you have to do once you receive the kit is swab your cheek and send it back. It's so simple.

Everyday, six thousand people search the database for a marrow donor. All too often, a patient in need can't find their perfect match. It happened to me with the first transplant. I was very lucky to find a 9/10 match when I needed the second transplant. Had this very generous woman not come forward and registered, I'd hate to think of what may have happened. Could you be someone's match? Could you save a life just by showing up?

If you do get called up to donate, the procedure is virtually painless these days. In most instances, the donor is given the choice to donate actual bone marrow or peripheral stem cells. Donating peripheral stem cells is like donating blood. During my first transplant, I had to bank peripheral stem cells and all it really involved was laying in a bed while stem cells were circulated out of my body. Two needles. That's it. I slept right through it. Couldn't you spare an hour or two for a good cause?

Please, if you aren't already on the registry, please join. You could give hope to a desperate family in need. Join. Be the Match.

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