Health Tips

How You Can Become A Bone Marrow Donor And Save A Life

Every 10 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a blood cancer because it is difficult to find a bone marrow donor match, especially for minorities. The best chance a patient has of finding a lifesaving match will most likely come from someone who is the same ethnicity as themselves.

The Be The Match Foundation is home to the National Bone Marrow Registry for the United States. Its mission is to add people wishing to become marrow donors to the registry in hopes of saving patients diagnosed with leukemia, sickle cell and various blood cancers.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of diversity on the National Marrow Registry. Because of this, patients who are Hispanic only have a 46% chance of finding a match on the registry while African Americans only have a 23% chance.

Here is how you can help.

Join the National Marrow registry

It’s easy to get started. One way is to text the word “UCFCURES” to 61474. You will receive a link to register. Be The Match will then mail you a simple cheek swab kit that you mail back to them. You can also attend a marrow drive at UCF organized by UCF’s Be The Match registered student organization. There, you will receive a cheek swab and be added to the registry in hopes of matching with a patient in the future. Your information is saved and if you are a match, you will be contacted.
   
Contact Ashley@icla.org for details on upcoming events or if you are interested in hosting an event.

Donation Process

Your donation can be one of the following:
   
PBSC Donation
This is a non-surgical procedure that takes place at your local blood center. On the day of donation, blood is removed from one of your arms and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm. The process is similar to donating platelets or plasma.

A Bone Marrow Donation
This is a surgical procedure that takes place in a hospital and makes up about 22% of marrow donations. About 3-4% of marrow is collected from the back of your hip which your body can easily replenish.  Donors receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the procedure. After your donation, you might experience some temporary soreness for 1-3 days.

Patients waiting for a match

Florida boy Julian Morales is one of many patients we are working with who currently do not have a match on the registry. He has been searching for his donor for the past four years with no avail. With your help, we hope to change that for many who are in that same situation.

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Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.

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