November 10, 2009

1. 70% of people requiring a stem cell transplant need an unrelated donor.

The first choice is a family member, but more people will have to rely on a stranger. On any given day, 16000 people around the world are waiting on a list to find an anonymous bone marrow donor.

2. Register by providing a blood sample in Quebec or the UK, or a cheek swab sample in the rest of Canada or the US.

In the US, UK and most of Canada, you can even fill in your registration online and get a kit sent to your home.
This is a free service in Canada and the UK as well as many other countries. In the US, although there is often a fee associated with lab typing, you can have the costs waived by registering online for free (a new development since Summer 2009) via Be The Match, and there are additional ways to register for free.

3. Donation is safe, fast, and not risky.

You never donate stem cells or bone marrow at risk to your own life. Whatever is donated replenishes itself naturally in the body.

4. There are 2 ways to do it.

70% of people will donate in a process that takes a few hours and is similar to donating blood. For a few days leading up to the extraction process, the donor receives injections to produce additional stem cells in the body.

30% of people will donate by having liquid marrow extracted from within the back of the pelvic bone.

5. Many people cannot find matches.

There are 8 blood types, but for a stem cell match there are several million combinations of possible human leukocyte antigen (HLA) profiles - 150 billion different possibilities in theory.

Even though blood is important, and people who need transplants (in addition to many other people) need donated blood to survive, people with a rare blood type can probably find a match in a room with 100 people of different ethnicities (but the rate will go up in a room where everyone is the same ethnicity). For someone looking for a stem cell match, they may need a stadium of 20000 or 50 stadiums (or more) to find a match. The most likely match within the general population is someone of the same or similar ethnicity. If you are of African descent, it is most likely your match will be, too.

Then they have to hope that person is on the registry.

This is where we can help. We can take what we know and tell others to combat the misinformation about the process, so that people understand how important the need is for donors to come forward and how things really work. Use Livejournal, Facebook, Twitter, MSN or your blog.

Learn more at:
Be The Match (US)
OneMatch (Canada)
Anthony Nolan Trust (UK)

Feel free to use the Comments section to ask questions. I will answer them or find someone who can answer them.

Labels: , , ,

posted by Tamu at


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Updates Home

Message Archives

Where's My Local Registry?