Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Bloggers! Spread the word!

My wife's life was saved by a Bone Marrow Transplant (also called Stem Cell Transplant, but these are NOT the stem cells that are so controversial right now--these cells are taken from the marrow of healthy, living adults). Fortunately for her, one of her sisters was a perfect match and she was able to have a "matched related donor" transplant. Unfortunately, about 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a matched related donor and they must go to a donor registry to search for a possible match.

If you are in a minority population your chances of finding a match are dramatically reduced. Stem Cell Transplants can save lives, but only if we are willing to register with a bone marrow registry. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take some time to sign up! It only takes a prick of the finger and a small blood sample to register your marrow type (called HLA type) and possibly save a life. If you are ever a match, the donation process is simple and almost painless.

I've recently become aware of several people of Indian or Asian descent who desperately need transplants but who do not have a match. Read their stories to understand why this is so important, and why a simple act on your part can save a life:

Pia Awal
Gurdeep Bedi
Hai Bin

You can learn more about stem cell donations at the National Marrow Donor Program website. They have information on the procedure for harvesting bone marrow, information on success stories, and information on where you can register. Sagarika's website also has a very good FAQ on stem cell donations and transplants.

Consider this:
The NMDP facilitates an average of 200 marrow or blood cell transplants each month and has helped give more than 18,000 patients a second chance at life. Each year more than 35,000 children and adults in the United States are diagnosed with diseases for which a marrow or blood cell transplant could be a cure.

Please send this information to your friends and family, and go register yourself. You never know who will be the match. Imagine how you'll feel if you save someone's life!