MISSISSIPPI MARROW DONOR PROGRAM SEEKS PERFECT MATCH FOR PATIENTS
JACKSON, Miss – The University of Mississippi Medical Center, which has the only bone marrow transplant program in the state, recently participated in the national Be The Match campaign to improve the number of African American donors.
Patients usually find a suitable donor in someone with a similar ethnic background, but the national registry reports that just 7 percent of the nation’s 10 million registered potential bone marrow donors are African American.
Fortunately, the National Marrow Donor Program has seen a significant increase in the donor registry since Mississippi native Robin Roberts, of “Good Morning America” announced she has a blood and bone marrow disease that requires a bone marrow transplant for treatment.
Jeffrey Chell, CEO of the registry Be The Match, told the Associated Press that around 15,000 people had registered since Roberts, the morning show anchor, announced her diagnosis on June 11. That’s about 11,200 more than they would normally receive.
Donors can join the registry by completing a consent form with contact information, health history and a signature. Those who qualify will give a swab of their cheek cells so that tissue type can be determined. Some donors have matched with a patient quickly, while others have gone as long as 20 years before being contacted by the national registry.
For more information contact Patrice Guilfoyle at (601) 815-3940. To hold a bone marrow drive or to donate, contact Tazia Jackson at (601) 984-6799, toll free at 1-800-862-3627 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.