Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I just signed up as a potential marrow donor- You can too!

I copied and pasted this from a post at Two peas in a bucket. I am pretty sure the poster won't mind as she is interested in getting the word out!

It was simple and free! FREE!!!!!! I hope that I am a match for someone. That would be incredible! Remember, from June 8 - 22, use pass code "hope2" to register for free.

You have nothing to lose by signing up....and look at what you can gain- you can safe a life!

Subject: Marrow-thon June 8 - 22, free for all

Most of you know that our daughter Melissa Sterling was diagnosed with Leukemia (AML) in July 2008 and with another blood disorder, Mastocytosis, in August 2008. Chemotherapy has provided some temporary relief, but the leukemia persists. It appears that a marrow transplant will be necessary to effect a cure, and for that to have the greatest chance of success someone with a very similar genetic makeup would be the best donor. The very best chance of a match is an identical twin, followed by a sibling, and then someone of similar ethnic background, and finally a long shot, anybody else. Melissa does not have a twin, and neither of her sisters match her, although they match each other. Parents can never match, a child being a combination of both, although a Haplo transplant using one parent is sometimes possible, and is being considered for Melissa.

No match was found for Melissa, who is of mixed ethnicity. Her father is Caucasian, her mother Hispanic. Her best chance of a match is someone who is also Caucasian and Hispanic. Unfortunately, minorities are not well represented in the worldwide marrow registry, Hispanics (mixed and otherwise) making up less than 10% of registrants. Of the only seven million registered, about 650 thousand are Hispanic. The chances of a match are on the order of one in over three million, so you can see that any Hispanic has a poor chance of finding a match, and for mixed race and other minorities it is even less.

We have been attempting to positively affect those odds, not only for Melissa, not only for minorities, but for everyone, by conducting Marrow Donor Drives here in Las Cruces and in Albuquerque. Many of you receiving this note have already stepped forward, and we are humbled and grateful for your caring and generosity. To date, we have signed up well over 1,000 new potential donors, and while that is noteworthy it is still a drop in a really huge bucket. We are able, during donor drives, to sign up people with no cost involved, but when individuals become donors outside an organized donor drive there is usually a $52 fee to do the tissue typing. This cost can be a problem for many people, especially in uncertain economic times.

So, we are very pleased that the Be The Match Foundation has announced a nationwide Free For All On-line Marrow Donor Drive from June 8 through June 22, 2009.

To learn more about becoming a donor and to sign up as a potential donor, browse to http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/index.html.

During the Free For All Drive, the free pass code is "hope2".

When you sign up, the foundation will send you a "swab kit" with instructions and four cotton swabs to swab the inside of your mouth to gather cells for typing, which you then mail back for tissue typing. That's all there is to it.

There are some guidelines to determine eligibility for becoming a donor, and we hope you will read from the web site for the details. We note that potential donors must be 18-60 years of age. We realize that this email is going to quite a few people over 60 years old, but we hope you will send this on to your younger family and associates. The best way to improve the odds of finding a match is for more people to join the registry; it is literally a matter of life or death for many people.

Please read about what is involved in donating. Select the "Join the Registry" tab at http://www.marrow.org/index.html. It's not as painful as you may think.

Remember, from June 8 - 22, use pass code "hope2" to register for free.

Please help in any way you can! We are depending on volunteers to save lives.

Best Regards,
Chuck and Maria Elena Sterling


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