This fall at Ross Medical Education Center in Granger, Indiana, Angela Tousell from the Be The Match program in Indianapolis, came to speak to all the students on campus regarding bone marrow donation. Angela presented a case study of a two and a half year old who is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant and has a relative at another Ross campus. This touching story inspired students to get signed on to the registry that day.
The process to find an exact match for bone marrow for a patient can be a very complex one. First, a patient’s doctor goes directly to immediate family members. If no match is found, he or she then sends the need to to the world’s largest registry to see who else might be a match. Every three minutes, patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma are diagnosed and in need of the help of a bone marrow donor. The largest area of need is for those with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
There are several steps taken before a donor actually gives their potentially life saving donation. A simple cheek swab kit is sent to a potential donor’s home to get him or her into the registry. If they are a match to a patient in need, then they will attend an information session, have appointments to check their overall health, and then the donation would take place all over a period of four to six weeks.
Donating bone marrow is almost as easy as donating blood. The blood is taken out of one arm, then the bone marrow tissue is filtered out, and finally the blood is returned to the other arm. A surgical procedure of extracting the marrow from the pelvic bone is also done in some cases. It is up to the doctor to decide which is best for each patient and donor.
Please consider contacting Be The Match for more information at BeTheMatch.org or by calling 1-800-627-7692.