Did you know that every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia? For many, their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant, according to Be The Match.org. With African American patients having the lowest odds of finding a matching bone marrow donor, compared to all other populations, the time is now to volunteer as a potential bone marrow donor.
In an effort to raise awareness about the critical need for more blacks to volunteer to be donors, Be the Match, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on saving lives through bone marrow and cord blood transplantation, is raising awareness about this issue in July; African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month.
The first step to saving a life only takes a few minutes. “We are asking African Americans to take 15 minutes today and join the registry,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of Be The Match. “You can sign up online or from your smartphone by going to join.BeTheMatch.org/aabmam. It’s a simple step, but it means everything to patients and their families. Please consider joining the registry today, and if you are called as a potential match for a patient, say ‘yes’ to donating. Say ‘yes’ to saving a life.”
Here are a few more additional reasons why African Americans should volunteer as bone marrow donors:
- Sickle cell disease affects millions of people throughout the world. In the United States alone, sickle cell disease occurs among 1 out of every 500 black or African American births.
- African Americans have the most diverse tissue types, which makes the matching process even more challenging.
- The likelihood of finding a bone marrow match for an African American adult is 76% compared with populations described as white/Caucasian, which is 97%.
- The cure for sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening diseases is in the hands of ordinary people.
Throughout July, Be The Match will host donor registry drives across the country to add more African Americans to the national Be The Match Registry®, giving patients everywhere more hope for a cure. A special online promo code, “AABMAM,” can be used to join the registry online by visiting Join.BeTheMatch.org/AABMAM.
According to Be the Match, for people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match® connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. You can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.” To get the real facts about bone marrow donation and to sign-up as a committed registry member, visit BeTheMatch.org.