Hello everyone. I’m writing today because I need your help. Keep reading for the full story, or see the shorter version below…
I have a good friend named Itai (pronounced ee-tie-ee) who was recently diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. But YOU could be the one who helps save his life, or the life of someone else in his situation.
I’m asking you today to please consider joining your national registry of stem cell and bone marrow donors. If you are between the ages of 18 and 44, it does not cost you money to sign up in the United States, nor in many other countries around the world, and contrary to commonly held belief, donation is not painful.
You could be the one to help give the gift of life to my friend or others in his situation. You could be the one who helps spare a family the loss of their loved one. Please consider joining your national donor registry today.
Join the Registry
In the United States, the bone marrow registry is handled by the organization Be The Match. To join this registry, please go to the Be The Match donor signup page at https://join.bethematch.org. When asked for a promo code during the signup process, please enter MatchForItai. While you’ll be added to the registry for any patient who might need a match, this lets Be The Match know you’re signing up as a part of this donor drive.
Be sure to enter the promo code MatchForItai when asked!
Outside the USA
As with the United States, many countries have their own national registries. Many of the registries listed below can and do work TOGETHER as ‘Cooperative Registries’, however, meaning that even when you sign up in your home country, you could be matched with a patient and save a life halfway around the world!
The ‘Marrow Drives’ site has compiled a list of numerous other nations and their registries. If you do not see your country above, please check this list for the contact information of your registry.
Slightly Longer, More Detailed Version of the Story
On January 14th, 2016, my friend Itai was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (also called chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML), a cancer that affects the blood-forming cells inside his bone marrow. CML is one of the rarer forms of leukemia, accounting for only about fourteen percent of overall leukemia diagnoses according to Wikipedia. It also is a disease that predominantly affects older people, with a median age of 65 for those diagnosed.
But Itai is only 29 years old.
One of Itai’s best options for survival is a bone marrow transplant. In order for that to occur, however, a potential donor match needs to be found, and this is where you come in. Most bone marrow matches for people in Itai’s position are found outside the patient’s family. Seventy percent, in fact. Finding a match is difficult, however, because many genetic factors contribute to whether someone is a match, including ethnicity. Beyond that, only people who’ve deliberately chosen to sign up to be potential donors are options for a patient. No one is added to a registry in the USA (or many other countries) through a simple blood donation or any other means. You have to volunteer.
So today, I’m asking you to do that. Itai and patients like him need more people signed up as potential donors. They need brave, kind people who are willing to undergo this very safe, outpatient procedure to help possibly save their lives.
Please consider joining your national registry to potentially help Itai or others in his situation. You could be the one to help save a life.
For more information about myths and facts associated with donation, see the Be The Match page ‘Myths and Facts About Bone Marrow Donation‘ or read the MarrowDrives.org page on ‘Myths and Facts‘ as well.
To sign up as a donor, please see my list ‘Join the Registry‘ (above).