March 6, 2009

You can be the one to help save a life. Jasmina is 6 years old, and looking for a bone marrow donor. She is adopted and black, which means she does not have a family member as a first option, and she is in a donor pool that is severely underrepresented. She is one of thousands of patients every day looking for a donor.

-You can learn more about bone marrow donation. (Start with the facts on the Info tab of the Heal Emru page).

-You can tell others how to help. *** JUST PASS THIS ALONG ***

-If you are eligible you can become a bone marrow donor. You can live in another country- it doesn't matter, as long as there is a registry where you live.

-If you do register, you can tell someone you did.

If you live in New York, there is also a drive tomorrow at PS 41 in NYC.

Hope you can make it! If you can't like me, you can still get registered!

If you can make it, a bone marrow drive is a great place to get questions answered and register easily.

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December 29, 2008

The fourth day of Kwanzaa celebrates cooperative economics. In Canada, registering is free. In many countries, you need not worry about the cost of registration when you decide to sign up as a potential bone marrow donor. Many people worry about the cost of donation, but the donor does not pay for the donation. Instead, depending on where one lives, the donor, donor's insurance covers it, the medical system, and/or special programs run by the registry to help those in need cover it.

This year, we wrote about ways to register for free in the United States. More than half of the world's donor pool lives in the United States, but it costs money to register. There are still many ways to register for free. If you are in a minority donor pool, you can register for free if you present yourself at a donor centre and funds are available. Also, many blood collection agencies allow people to make two platelet donations in exchange for free registration. Many bone marrow drives offer subsidized registration, which means that registrants pay nothing or less than usual. Online registration with the National Marrow Donor Program in the US can be subsidized if you have been provided a promotional code. Online registration with DKMS Americas is free, but people will be asked if they can make a donation.

In all cases people should pay what they can. Why? Because nothing is ever truly free. When someone registers for free, it means the money has been paid by someone else at some point. Donations gathered at bone marrow drives go toward lab typing costs for another person. When Emru died, we asked for donations to two organizations: The National Marrow Donor Program and The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. The funds for the donation to the NMDP will go toward paying for someone to register in the United States. 49% of all matches in the US involve an international recipient or donor, so people are being helped everywhere.

On a community level, the funds for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust will go toward covering their costs for their tireless work. Their ultimate initiative is the establishment of a registry for African Caribbean and mixed ethnicity donors.

On a personal level, many people stepped forward to help Emru's appeal. People chipped in to help subsidize flyers, print ads, buttons, and much more. We couldn't have done it on the level we did without you.

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December 1, 2008

People have been asking me about the registration process.

The United States offers the most flexibility when it comes to finding a way to join the registry. You can register online, go to a donor center, or attend a bone marrow drive, one of the most effective methods of educating potential donors. You must be 18-60 to register or donate.

Unlike Canada and the UK, most people will pay to register. However, if you attend a subsidized bone marrow drive, your insurance policy covers registration, or you are in a minority donor pool, you may pay less or nothing. You can register online for free with DKMS every day, or get costs waived if you have a special code with the NMDP.

It's just a cheek swab to register, but you should be informed about the methods of donation, should you ever be one of the select group to match another person. To find out more:

Go to
> FAQs About Joining
> Myths and Facts About Bone Marrow Donation

If you are a busy person, set aside between 15-30 minutes, and read information on the site. Use a timer so you get back to the other things you need to do.

How to register online in the United States:

1. Determine if you can be a donor.

Check your eligibility. If you are not eligible, you can still get involved by telling other people about the importance of the registry and why it is important.

2. (OPTION A) Go to (10 to 15 minutes)

Fill in the online consent form and questionnaire to order your buccal swab kit online.

The questionnaire takes this amount of time so you can understand the nature of your commitment and make an informed decision. Also you will be asked some basic medical questions and about your ethnic background.

You should have your credit card ready, unless you have obtained a promo code which will let you register for free. It costs $52 to cover lab typing costs. There are methods to pay less or nothing, especially if you are in a group that is underrepresented. Contact a donor centre for details.

2. (OPTION B) Go to

Email info AT to order your buccal swab kit online.

You can register for free through DKMS. Please be advised that someone else (usually a private citizen) will cover what you cannot pay for. So if you can afford to pay some or all of the cost, pay what you can.

3. When you receive the swab kit at home, follow the instructions in the kit. (5 minutes)

The consists of an envelope with instructions, 4 cheek swabs, stickers with a reference ID, and a postage-paid envelope in which to return your samples.

If you are registering via DKMS, you will be sent a registration form that you must include with the kit, and if you can pay for a part of your lab typing, you should include a donation.

4. Send it back. You're done!

It takes about fifteen to twenty working days to get HLA-typed. Keep your address information up to date whenever you move so you can be found if you are ever needed.

You could be contacted in two months, ten years, maybe never. But if you match someone, you may be able to save someone's life by donating 2 to 5% of the stems cells in your circulating blood or bone marrow.

How To Register in Canada
How To Register in Quebec

Stem Cell Awareness - Why is it important to everyone?
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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May 9, 2008

DKMS Americas and Howcast have teamed up to produce two short videos that explain how to register to donate bone marrow, and how the actual donation process works. Post these on your website or email them to your friends and family. Or just, you know, watch and learn.

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