Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marrow program steps up efforts to gain more minority donors

This is good news! The National Marrow Donor Program has changed the name of its bone-marrow donor registry to Be the Match and is using such social-media Web sites as Facebook and MySpace to reach younger potential donors and encourage them to sign up. The agency also has developed an online search tool to make it easier to identify possible matches in the registry.

When I worked for a blood donor center at a hospital in the Texas Medical Center, we'd co-sponsor bone marrow registry drives, targeting African-American groups to assist patients with Sickle Cell Disease. (Sickle cell disease results from an abnormality in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Because the disorder involves cells produced in the bone marrow, replacement of the defective bone marrow with normal marrow will cure it.)

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