Your donation of blood, platelets, bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood help patients stay alive-compare that value to any other use of your time!
There are very practical ways you can help patients with bone marrow diseases. Many patients depend on blood transfusions until their treatments become effective. Some patients rely on blood transfusions for many years. You can donate blood, platelets, bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood to extend and improve the lives of those suffering from these diseases. Another vital way of promoting the cause is by encouraging and recruiting other donors within your family, community, and at your place of employment.
Contact your local hospital to find the nearest blood bank. Employees and volunteers at your community blood bank are able to provide you with general information on donating blood and platelets. More information can be found through the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org or America's Blood Centers® at www.americasblood.org.
Bone marrow transplant (BMT) is the only curative option for bone marrow diseases. However, not all patients are eligible for this procedure for a variety of reasons. Those who are eligible for a BMT may not have a matching sibling donor. The National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) Be The Match® Registry will assist patients in finding a matching donor who is not a biological relative. Donors of all ethnic groups are desperately needed but according to NMDP: "Of utmost urgency is the need for more minorities - specifically African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives - to become volunteer donors. Transplants require matching certain tissue traits of the donor to the patient; because these traits are inherited, the most likely donor will come from the person's same racial or ethnic group." To volunteer, contact your local NMDP center or recruitment group at www.bethematch.org.
Another opportunity to support this endeavor is through the donation of umbilical cord blood that is used for stem cell transplants. Cord blood transplantation is an investigational therapy for bone marrow diseases. You can encourage expectant parents to contact a local cord blood bank. For the nearest cord blood bank in your community, contact the NMDP Network at www.bethematch.org.