Black patients face challenges in finding matching donors
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Seventy percent of patients with life-threatening diseases needing marrow or blood cell transplants do not have matching donors in their families. Because matching a donor is most likely to be found within a person's racial or ethnic background, increasing the number of black donors will help more black patients receive a second chance at life.
The National Marrow Donor Program's Be the Match registry is encouraging blacks in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area to unite in an effort to save lives by joining the marrow registry from 1-7 p.m., Friday, May 7, at the Ann Arbor Community Center, 625 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48104.
"Many of us may have busy lifestyles and face challenges of our own, but there is one thing most of us have that many others wish they had - the freedom of choice that comes with good health," says Barbara Rozier, spokesperson for Be the Match.
"The choice to give the life-saving gift of marrow or blood cells may cost a few hours of time, but its long-term value to a patient suffering from life-threatening diseases is priceless."
Eight-year-old Larryn Patton, who has been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, is on a temporary chronic blood transfusion program for continued sickle cell complications despite being on hydroxyurea treatment. A bone marrow donor search has been performed for him, but a suitable donor could not be found. Larryn's mother, Maya Dozier-Scott, is available for interviews; please call 734-717-3967.
To qualify as a volunteer marrow or blood stem cell donor, you must:
- Be between 18 and 60 years old and meet health guidelines.
- Rub the inside of your cheek with four cotton swabs.
- Be listed on the Be the Match registry, which is strictly confidential.
- Update your contact information if there is a change in your name, health status or willingness to donate.
Be the Match helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant. It connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives.
Be the Match achieves its mission by:
- Searching its registry - the largest listing of volunteer donors and cord blood units in the world.
- Supporting patients and their doctors throughout the transplant process.
- Matching patients with the best donor or cord blood unit using innovative science and technology.
To learn more about the Be the Match registry, visit www.bethematch.org or contact Barbara Rozier at her office at 313-833-2647, on her mobile at 313-550-5502.