Be the Match

I received an email this week about a Health Fair taking place at one of my my school district’s high schools.  Not only were they running a blood drive, but they were also signing people up for the national bone marrow registry.

Back when I was in college in New York City I was a regular blood donor.  I would count off every 56 days and find a local Red Cross wherever I was.

Bone Marrow?  I’ve heard that hurts, but at this point in my life I figure, what’s a little pain?

Here are some facts for you:

  • Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with leukemia, lymphoma and many other diseases.
  • Only one in 540 are matches.
  • Signing up is easy.  It involves a cheek swab.  You do it yourself.
  • If you are identified as a potential match there are one of two ways you may be asked to donate: Peripheral blood cell donation and Bone marrow donation.
  • Peripheral blood cell donation involves taking blood out through a needle in your arm.  It is processed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. The rest of the blood is returned through a needle in your other arm.
  • Bone marrow donation is the one that can be painful.  I was told that only 20% of those identified as a match are asked for this type of donation.  I was also told this bone marrow donation are used for pediatric patients.  CAN’T WE FACE SOME PAIN FOR A CHILD WHO IS IN NEED?  According to marrow.org: This is a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor’s pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure, so donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days after.
  • Both types of donations allow you to donate and then return home on the same day.
  • Once you have signed up you are on the list until age 60.  You can take your name off of the list at any time.  If you are contacted that you are a potential match, you still have the opportunity to decline.

As for me?  I signed up.  The Major says he will be my go-to guy.  If I am a donor, he will be there to drive me to and from the appointment.  He will be there to hold my hand.

I am honored to be on the list.  I hope I am able to help someone.  It means saving a life.  What could be more important than that?

Check out how you can receive a kit at home to sign up as a potential donor: http://marrow.org/Join/Join_Now/Join_Now.aspx

–Running Girl

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