November is National Marrow Awareness Month, and a great time to learn more about how you can help those in need of a marrow transplant. Every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia. For many, their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Both bone marrow and umbilical cord blood can be used for donation to help save someone's life.
Most of us in this community are aware of organ donation for transplants, we hear Phil talk about it at every show. The nice part about marrow donation is that you can help save a life without having to lose your own. The National Marrow Donor Program matches patients in need with volunteers who have registered to be marrow donors. The first step to being someone's cure is to join Be The Match Registry, see link below. If you meet the age and health requirements, you can sign up online or at a local registration drive. You just have to swab the inside of your cheek, no needles or pain involved to get your tissue type! That tissue type information will then be stored in the Registry's data base, and you only actually donate marrow if you're matched with a patient who matches your tissue type.
I've been in the program since the late 90's and still haven't been called, and I'd actually kind of like to be. About 1 in every 540 registrants is actually called to donate marrow. You truly can save someone's life this way. So please check out the program and consider becoming a part of the cure!