Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Be the Match

Several months ago, I signed up to be a bone marrow donor.  It's easy to sign up, just submit a cheek swab through the mail.  If you are found to be a 'match' for someone, under the "Be the Match" program you are then asked if you are able and willing to give.  In addition to bone marrow, some donors are only asked to give blood products.  Easy!  Read the stories below and consider registering with the "Be the Match" program.  You might save a life. 
About Be The Match 
For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Over the past 25 years Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. We work every day to save lives through transplant.
A story born of love for a child
When their 10-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with leukemia, Robert Graves, D.V.M., and his wife Sherry were ready to do anything they could to save her. Desperate to save her life they turned to alternative treatment options and agreed to try the first ever bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.
Laura received her transplant in 1979. And it worked. The success of the treatment inspired the Graves to give other families the same hope for a cure. Thanks to Dr. Graves, other patient families, doctors, congressional support and funding from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow was born.

Our first 10,000 blood donors step forward

Many people wondered who would step forward to donate marrow. Within the first year the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry (as we were called then) was established, an astonishing 10,000 people answered the call. We conducted our first transplant as the National Marrow Donor Program® in 1987 when Diane Walters of Wisconsin donated marrow to 6-year-old Brooke Ward of North Carolina. It wasn’t long before the program took off worldwide from a tiny office at the American Red Cross in St. Paul, Minn.

Leading the way in transplants – now and into the future

Today we have facilitated more than 68,000 marrow and cord blood transplants and nearly 6,300 transplants a year to give patients hope for a future.  As the recognized leader in unrelated marrow transplantation, Be The Match continues to develop services and interactive technologies used by transplant experts around the world to reach more patients.
Patients are counting on you
Michelle and Ava - Donor
We have facilitated more than 68,000 marrow and cord blood transplants, which is an average of more than 520 transplants a month. Each day we give 17 patients hope for a future.
We also continue to lead the way in developing new cellular therapies, in advancing services to speed the transplant process and improving treatments for post-transplant complications. We invest in dedicated researchers whose countless hours in the lab and caring for patients have helped more patients than ever before receive a transplant.
The cure for blood cancer is in the hands of ordinary people. Join our cause. You could be the cure.  

Are you Isaac’s cure?

For the love of Isaac. . .  
The Colemans-122 (2)Mindy and her husband Daniel Coleman are a creative, young couple living in Huntersville, North Carolina. He works in advertising. She makes leather baby moccasins in honor of her Native American heritage, and sells them on Etsy.
In 2011, the combination of their genes produced Isaac, a fragile and pensive-eyed son who inherited a rare disorder: Fanconi’s anemia (FA)
The Colemans live a different reality from their millennial friends who still have the option of gliding through life. As Mindy put it, “This journey is one we didn’t expect.” In fact, it was the worst thing they could imagine.
And yet, says Mindy, “There is a bitter sweetness to life, a beautiful kind of joy deep down in my bones that wasn’t there before.” Before Isaac.
Fanconi’s anemia affects many systems of the body. Patients can develop leukemia, bone marrow failure, tumors and other serious conditions. The average patient lives to be 25 and there are only about 1,000 documented cases of the disease in medical literature.
About 5 months into the pregnancy, when many expectant couples are choosing names and nursery colors, Mindy and Daniel began preparing for the worst. Mindy’s ultrasound showed swelling on the baby’s brain and doctors were unsure of his condition.
When Isaac was born on October 3, 2011, he weighed a little over 3 pounds. Soon after birth, he underwent several surgeries for a brain shunt and a colostomy – the first of many. “We’ve lost count of his surgeries,” said Mindy. He is now under the care of 12 doctors.
Today, Isaac is a handsome, dark-haired 3-year-old who weighs just 14 pounds—the average weight of a 3-month-old boy. He is tiny in stature, but big on attitude. He wears a hearing aid, walks with assistance, and now has a thumb, thanks to surgery. Music, kites and his new preschool enthrall him. He sneaks food he doesn’t like to his dog, Maggie.
Isaac’s parents know what his future holds. Most FA patients experience complete bone marrow failure between the ages of 3 and 12, so Isaac’s clock is ticking.
During the past year, Isaac’s platelet quality has declined significantly—a precursor to bone marrow failure. Doctors believe he will need a transplant by the end of the year. The Colemans hope they can The Colemans-10find a marrow donor in time through Be The Match Registry.
In spite of the heart-wrenching worry, Mindy is inspired by several children she knows who are doing well after bone marrow transplants. “Be The Match is doing all it can to get more donors—we’re incredibly hopeful,” she says.
Meanwhile, they will wait, and hope and love their little boy with the pensive brown eyes. Isaac, a name that means “he laughs.”
Join the marrow donor registry and be the cure for patients like Isaac.
Give to deliver the cure to more blood disease patients. 

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