March 15, 2008

One potential obstacle for people who want to join the marrow registry in the US is the $52 fee. There are several ways around that (which we'll be discussing in future postings), and one surprising method is outlined in this blog posting on This Eclectic Life. There, Shelly Kneupper Tucker relates that she found a way to sign up to donate for free: she simply had to donate platelets twice (which is much like donating blood, but it takes more time), and then they waived the fee.

Aside from saving you cash, platelet transfusions are also very important to us AML patients. Because chemotherapy wipes out our immune systems, we often require transfusions of blood or platelets. (I figure I've received about 12 bags of blood since I first entered the hospital in December, and 7 or 8 bags of platelets.) Platelets are the cells responsible for clotting, so when we run low we bleed easier and longer. When I was released from the hospital after my second round of chemo my platelet count was a little low; the doctor told me it wasn't enough to keep me there, but to be careful about slipping on the ice. "If you have any kind of accident, go straight to emergency."

So you know what? Having a few extra platelets around is pretty helpful.

Update: Minutes after this post went up, I received a reply from Shelly Tucker, and she said that her experience was at Carter Blood Care in Denton, Texas. So it's likely that this is a specific arrangement that they have; still, it indicates that it's worth asking at your local blood bank if they have anything similar.

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posted by Emru Townsend at


Blogger Mike said...

Hi Emru, Maybe you covered this elsewhere but I am find it hard to figure out HOW do you sign up? Where do you go in the US? I'd like to sign up as my grandfather died of bone marrow cancer.

March 18, 2008 12:31 PM  
Blogger Tamu said...

Hi Mike, many of the questions about the US registry can be found at

Follow this link to page on how to join.

You can join in person, or you can fill in a questionnaire online to receive a mouth swab kit that takes five minutes to use. Just send the kit back and you're done.

March 18, 2008 11:26 PM  

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