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) www.bethematch.org
OneMatch (Canada) www.onematch.ca
Anthony Nolan Trust (UK) www.anthonynolan.org.uk

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

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November 3, 2008

The Month of November is National Marrow Awareness Month in the US. Online registration with the NMDP is free.

November 3-9, 2008 is Canadian Stem Cell Awareness Week. Go to the OneMatch site to find out how to Spread The Word.

November 17-23, 2008 is Anthony Nolan Week in the UK. Check the Anthony Nolan Trust media centre for their latest YouTube video.

So let's try and build some awareness: here are 5 important points that you should know about registration and donation.

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.

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, there are 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 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.

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

The most likely match within the general population is someone of the same or similar ethnicity.


How To Register in Quebec
How To Register in Canada
How To Register Online in the United States

Stem Cell Awareness and the Black Community

By the Numbers: Still a State of Emergency

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August 4, 2008

USA - SheKnows, Save Giovanni and DKMS Americas team up to recruit 50000 new registrants - 15000 registrants, and 14 matches later, the Save Giovanni campaign embarks on a new campaign to recruit more potential donors by next year.

Southern California - The Battle Rages On - Chase Crawford-Quickel finds out he has a rare blood cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, and gets a stem cell transplant for the second time in his young life. A well-written account, which includes a brief summary of both methods of donation.
"Chase,a wiry young man with a dry sense of humor, says he is willing to tell his story only in order to raise awareness about bone marrow transplants."
Birmingham, UK - Firefighter's Donor Search in Leukaemia Battle and Bone Marrow Donors Could Help Little Alishba - Two people are looking for a matching donor. While no one is guaranteed a match, Alishba is South Asian and may face a more difficult search.
"Even if none of the donors my mates encourage to come forward is a perfect match for me, they could serve to save someone else's life."

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June 18, 2008

Today's bone marrow clinic in Huddersfield, UK was deemed a success by organizers attracting 53 people. This is the first clinic inspired directly from the challenge of Adrian "Sudders" Sudbury to educate people about bone marrow registration and donations in the short time he has left to live, after being treated unsuccessfully for two different types of leukemia (he is the only known person to have two forms simultaneously).

Two more drives will be occurring in July.

If you live in the UK or are an ex-pat, you may also be interested in signing the official 10 Downing Street e-petition before July 23, 2008 to fulfill Adrian's wish to see the basics of bone marrow donation and registration taught to teenagers in school as part of the curriculum. Please sign it only if you are from the United Kingdom.

Sign the petition

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