Be a hero: sign up to donate marrow

Brittany Wise bwise@civitasmedia.com

March 18, 2014

It isn’t every day that you have the opportunity to save a life, but this Saturday, March 22, is that day.

Stop by the Ronald Hudson Firehouse on Brandenburg Road between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and take just a few minutes to register to become a bone marrow donor.

The process to join the bone marrow donor registry is painless and quick, according to event organizer Jayme Pharis.

Participants will have a quick mouth swab done, and the cheek cells collected will help determine whether that individual is a match for someone awaiting a marrow transplant.

According to Pharis, a shocking percentage of people who are on the waiting list will die before a match is found. She added that there is also a higher probability of winning the lottery than of a donor finding out that they are a match for someone.

Because finding a match is so difficult, it is important to sign up as many volunteers as possible.

Pharis said that she has already purchased 100 test kits so that those who stop by on Saturday can sign up at no cost. Each kit normally costs $65.

Pharis’ donor drive is a part of the outreach program of the non-profit organization Delete Blood Cancer. Participants are encouraged to visit the organizations website at www.deletebloodcancer.org to find out more information on the matching process and the donation process.

According to the organization, a bone marrow transplant “is a lifesaving treatment for people with leukemia, lymphoma and many other diseases.” When patients with these diseases undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation, their diseased marrow is destroyed, and they need healthy blood-forming stem cells from a donor in order to replenish their bodies.

If a potential donor finds that they are a match for someone awaiting transplant, there are two donation options: peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow. Both processes are made as simple and painless as possible for donors, and both are outpatient procedures.

Potential donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55 years old, and must meet the medical eligibility guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need.