Posted by: 2in10 | 08/03/2010

a living donor

Today’s Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2010 has a front page article in the Personal Journal section on becoming a living donor of bone marrow. As Kevin Walsh tells readers in The Marrow in Me, this article explains that it’s easy to sign up, if you can you should, and it’s a real commitment.

A bone marrow transplant is often the only way someone with leukemia will survive. Since for about 70% of people there won’t be a family member who will match, patients and their families turn to international registries to find a potential donor. (The genetic match is based on human leukocyte antigen, HLA, passed down from our ancestors.)

Joining a registry like Be the Match requires that you complete a questionnaire that screens for health conditions and give a painless sample by swabbing the inside of your cheek. (Cancer survivors do not qualify.)

Today the majority of bone-marrow transplants use periperal blood stem cells (PBSC) that can be filtered from the donor’s blood. The others use a needle to extract the liquidy marrow from pelvic bones under anesthesia.

Kevin Walsh speaks eloquently of the gift he received with the opportunity to donate his bone marrow. There may be 15 million possible donors in registries worldwide, but he was the one called to give life to his match. Want to know more? Visit the National Marrow Donor Program at  www.marrow.org.

Take care,

Carolyn

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