MCPHS University held a bone marrow donor drive last month, in the wake of a student’s mother finding a donor. Its goal was to sign up 1,000 new donors.
The Be The Match Foundation, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, manages the largest marrow registry in the world. Bone marrow donations are used in the treatment of lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers and diseases.
Only a cheek swab is required to join the registry. The Be The Match Foundation is specially looking for donors of Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, including South Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino and multiple race descents.
A bone marrow transplant takes a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells and puts them into the patient’s bloodstream, where they begin to grow and make healthy blood cells.
Patients receive high doses of chemotherapy to prepare their body for the transplant. Then on transplant day, the patient receives the donated cells in a process that is like getting blood or medicine through an intravenous (IV) catheter, or tube. Donors can donate through a system similar to regular blood donation, but with needles in both arms, or surgically. A surgical donation is usually an outpatient procedure where doctors use a large needle to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of the pelvic bone.
Seven out of 10 patients do not have a matching donor in their family.
Those wishing to receive the donor registration kit in the mail can request to do so at join.bethematch.org/MCPHS.