Younger members are 10 times more likely to be called

Posted February 13th, 2012 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, News
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Be The Match® recruiters across the country are spreading the word that people between the ages of 18 and 44 are especially needed to save more lives. In fact, registry members in this age group are 10 times more likely to be called as a potential donor than other members of the registry.

Transplant doctors weigh many factors when selecting a donor for one of their patients; the age of the donor is one of them. This reflects research findings that patients who receive cells from younger donors have a better chance at long-term survival after transplant. Younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors, and transplants with a high number of quality cells improve the chances of success.

Recruitment efforts are changing to respond to this need. College initiatives will continue to grow. Recruiters are asking sponsors, patient families, and partners to focus their drive efforts on attracting younger, committed registry members.

The age range for joining and being listed on the registry has not changed. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, are still welcome to join the registry.

150 Responses to “Younger members are 10 times more likely to be called”

  1. Candice Orndoff says:

    I’ll be 57 this year and after reading the article it seems like it would be better to unclog your registry with the older group and as the article says really recruit at the younger levels. I think it’s great to take people up to 60 but if you go through your records and people over a certain age are never or so rarely used it seems like maybe you should lower the age. Have you ever had to call on anyone 50 or over?

    • Mom says:

      My sons donor was n her 40’s. 10years difference but hey everyone. Valuable.

      • Candice Orndoff says:

        I’m signed up with the bone marrow registry (for about 6 years now) and I really believe it’s important for as many people as possible to sign up (my brother-in-law had to have a bone marrow transplant). I just felt that if they don’t really use potential donors over a certain age (health eligible versus better chances after transplant) maybe it would be better for them to concentrate on younger donors. I was fortunate and signed up during a blood drive but don’t some people who sign up for the registry have to pay to have their blood tested? Indeed everyone is valuable but I was just wondering if anyone over a certain age since the registry came in to being actually was called to donate. It might be better if available funds for testing was used for donors in the age range that the article said was better for transplants and gave potential recipients a better survival rate.

        • Avon says:

          I’m thinking that the donor sample collection and testing may be expensive (although far cheaper than when I registered in the 1970s, with lots of staff and rooms to take histories in person, draw large blood samples, feed the registrants, etc.), it costs virtually nothing nowadays to keep a large databank compared to one half the size.

          I’m 58 now, and actually relieved to realize that it was never likely in recent years that I’d be called to donate. But I can’t imagine it would benefit anyone to delete my name now, rather than wait til I max out at 60.

        • Jr. Babilonia says:

          I am 49 and donating this week!

          • Karen says:

            Awesome! I am 48 and registered in my early 20s to be a donor. No call as of yet, but still very willing and able.

          • Jennifer says:

            Way to go Jr. I am 48 and have been on the list for 20 years. I would like to echo Karen, I am willing and able!

          • Bliss says:

            I donated bone marrow last year at age 53.

          • jessica b says:

            Ill be 30 next week I have been on the registery 8 years I got a call a few weeks ago that I’m a match for a 22 year old man with lukimea…I’m donating just waiting for my next step.

        • Sherry says:

          I am 46 and was matched within 3 months of joining the registry. I donated three weeks ago. Everyone who is eligible and willing should be on the list.

        • tracy says:

          I will be turning 40 in August. Although that is not over the limit, I do think about getting older. I also remember my cousin who died at an early age, I believe he was 5. They didn’t do as many BMT’s back then. I have a friend who’s son had Luekemia and is now in remission. He is why I joined the registry. Well, they both are. I would hate to be in the position to need a donor. Either for myself, kids or other family members or friends. Please don’t leave the registry, you could be the one and only hope in a search of millions.

    • Survivor's mom says:

      Exactly 18 years ago this month, at the age of 5, my son received a BMT from an ‘older’ donor who was in his mid-50’s at the time. Now 23, we have enjoyed his wonderful life since transplant! Thank you for ‘older’ donors or my son would not be here today.

      • Sara says:

        That is all I need to know! I am 55 — and lost my 17 year old daughter, Eliza, two years ago. She had been waiting for eight months for a heart/lung transplant that never came. If there is even a REMOTE chance I can save someone else’s life PLEASE keep me on the list!!

    • Robin M. says:

      To my fellow 50 somethings who are responding to this article by saying they are removing themselves from the donor list or questioning their own value, I wonder, did you even read the article?? It clearly states that age is ONE of the MANY factors in selecting a donor.

      The intent of this article is to inform all of us that young people (whether this would be a grandchild over 18 or a fellow College student) are of significant value. And isn’t the research finding “younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors, and transplants with a high number of quality cells improve the chances of success” only seem logical anyway. Come on, if you needed a transplant, ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL would you rather those cells come from someone in their physical prime or from someone your own age? Be honest. On the other hand, if your child needs a transplant and the ONLY donor is your age, you better hope they didn’t take their names off the list!

      I’m also mystified by those speaking of removing themselves over a concern of clogging the registry. They’d used a computer to log their response here so must have some concept of the ability for it to hold vast amounts of data.

      Anyway, I thank you for reminding me that when I’m putting effort into spreading the word of the importance of being a donor, I now have the information to let my kids’ college friends know of the additional significance for them to take the time from their busy lives to register!

      • Arlene says:

        Robin M., thank you SO much for reminding all of us over 50 that age is only one of the factors considered in donor selection! I did read the article, but was left with a slight sense of being past my expiration date. Your remarks are very much appreciated!

        • Michael says:

          Arlene, I’m feeling the same way, like I’m being put out to pasture because I’m over 44 years old. I have no plans to remove my name from the registry, but it does seem like, after reading the article, that my chances of being called to donate are pretty slim now. Oh well.

          • Robin M. says:

            Yes, it may be that some of us boomers will never be called upon to donate, but that doesn’t mean we are not needed. As long as we are still registered, if we are not called on to donate, it only means that no one that is a match with us, is in need of a transplant. That’s a good thing. We are still putting out the positive energy of being WILLING to donate. There is no use in being sad or feeling less worthy. Perhaps one’s purpose is to lead by example so another person who is the match will register. Don’t underestimate the power of example! Maybe tomorrow a young adult will join because they see you have… or maybe it will be your or my great great grandchild, long after we’ve gone, that will be a match. Who knows? Because we can’t see our purpose, doesn’t mean we don’t have one! Keep the faith and be happy and proud of yourself that you’ve made the effort!!

    • donor in Long Beach says:

      I was 48 yrs old when I donated stem cells – and I am honored to think that I saved a life with my ‘old’ cells!

    • Marty Houk says:

      I was matched and made a donation last year, at age 53. I think what’s probably happening is that if multiple ‘possible matches’ come up in a search of the registry, the physician will likely choose the younger candidate first. If there isn’t a choice (i.e., only one ‘possible’), that candidate probably won’t be dismissed off-hand because they’re over 50. FWIW. . .

    • John Cordova says:

      Im not giving! I registered in 95 with 15 other co workers. None of have been matched although I was called for a second test one time. I don’t care how long it takes I’ll be available if asked.
      I’m 57 now and although I’m near the exclusion age I will jump if called.

  2. Deb says:

    If you want to get with younger donors, you should be reaching out on tumblr, not facebook.

  3. Louise Teodosio says:

    After reading this articule, I will be removing my name from the list. Why waste the time and expense to track older donors when they will most likey never be called. This time and expense should be focused on recruiting the younger donors.

    • Cathy says:

      Don’t do this. All they’re saying is that if you and a younger person are both a match, the younger person will be selected as their first choice. However, if you remove your name, you could have been someone’s only shot at receiving a transplant, regardless of age. Every potential donor matters.

    • Barb says:

      There are a lot more factors than age that go into the selection. I am 58 and not removing my name. I’ve been on the registry for almost 30 years adn will stay on until too old to be considered.

    • Kristi says:

      Please don’t remove your name. The odds of someone finding a match on the registry are very slim. The odds of more than one match, a miracle! If two matches are found, the younger one might be selected – all other things being equal. But if you are a match for someone out there, there is an overwhelming chance that you will be the ONLY match! Please don’t leave the registry… I plead with you as the mom of a transplant recipient!

    • Holly says:

      removing your name from the registry is nothing but selfish. think back and consider “why did i sign up in the first place?” was it for your own benefit, to make yourself feel good or to truly get your DNA in a databank so that if you are a match for someone out there you can donate to them and save that life. that’s what it’s all about. even if you never get called, no matter what the reasoning, at least you did what you can. how would you feel having the thought in the back of your head that possibly the day after you went off the list you were the only match for someone?

  4. Alane says:

    I think once you’re on the list there is no expense to you. I did it during a drive for someone so I didn’t have the outgoing expense of being tested. I am in my 50s, still healthy, and if I am a match and there isn’t any other matches with a younger person, then my ‘older’ cells still gives someone the chance to live. It is worth it, worth the time and expense, in my opinion.

  5. Dr. Del Covington says:

    Ten times more likely does not translate into a ten times better match. After reading this release I fear that a forty-eight year old registrant may want to remove their name from the registry when they may be the only match, although less than optimum, for a dying individual. I work very hard every month to recruit college age student for the registry but not every match will come from this age pool. If the medical evidence says that forty-four should be set as the upper limit, well and good. But this press release may discourage potential registrants and donors from future involvement.

    • T. Valdez says:

      You would be correct in the assumption that over 44 yr olds would remove their names. Your marketing geniuses effectively insulted thousands of registered donors without apology. Recruitig the younger is more desirable and a list of reasons one cannot argue with– except that you wouldn’t want a kegger, or smoker, or more than a decade of fast food 20 something, either. It was at the very least insensitive. I dare say it was step backward in your efforts. The two people I know who were called were over 44, which makes the information not entirely correct. Perhaps you are getting so big that you can be more choosy. Good for you.

      • Erin says:

        Indeed, the article above should have been worded differently had the author’s intention not been to have those over the age of 44 remove themselves from the registry. In either case, it would behoove patients to have every donor remain on the registry if still within the guidelines of acceptable age. If cost etc… were a factor; then, the registry would notify individuals for reasons of removal if need be. For those choosing to withdraw from the registry due to the written article and prior to age 60; one may wonder if they had second thoughts about being a donor. Saving a life far outweighs clogging of the registry etc… surely that would not be the case. Those ages 45, 50, 55 years old etc… may be a patients only chance! Have we forgotten why we became donors? The goal is to help save someone’s life…may we never forget this no matter the age. Please for the sake of others, do not remove your name from the registry! ~

        • Survivor's wife says:

          My husband was lucky to get the bone marrow from his brother. This is fifth year celebration! It would be very terrible if he did not any match!
          Yes, please do not remove your name from the registery list. Every donor from any age counts. And please not change your mind when you are a match! Please finish your role! It is GREAT to save a life.

      • Marianne says:

        I can’t believe what I’m reading. Some of you would really remove your name from the registry because of this article? This is about saving lives people! This isn’t about whether or not you were “insulted” by this article. It’s just a statistic! I certainly hope that no one will be telling others they know to remove their names, or not to register if they are over the age of 44. I am now 51, been registered for about 15 years, and will NOT be removing my name until I reach the age of 60. I can only dream of being that person called to possibly save another’s life. What a precious gift to give someone in need. Every life deserves a chance, and if their only chance of survival are my 50+ year old cells, then I’m ready to donate. And as Erin stated: Please for the sake of others, do not remove your name from the registry!

      • Lynn says:

        thank you for saying this; I felt insulted, but then felt bad for feeling bad. I won’t remove myself off the list bcause of an outside chance I could save a life, but my first impulse was to tell them to get me off since I’m obviously useless to them

      • Michael says:

        The article does leave us 40 and 50 somethings feeling kind of useless, doesn’t it? I have no plans on removing my name from the registry, but the article does seem like those of us in certain age brackets have a much slimmer chance of ever getting called. I still think that every potential match is important, but the article leaves a person with kind of an empty feeling; like we are not as important as younger donors.

  6. Helen says:

    My brother donated and he was in his 50’s. It saved someone’s life. That is what matters. He happened to be the best match for someone that had a very unusual type.
    The recipient is still alive, even pretty healthy. He has not had a relapse.
    It’s worth it to keep us older folks on the registry.

  7. Andy says:

    Now that i have turned 60, do i no longer qualify to be a donor?

    • Avon says:

      “However, anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 can join the Be The Match Registry. … The upper age limit is based on both donor and patient considerations. …”
      http://marrow.org/Join/Medical_Guidelines/Medical_Guidelines_for_Joining_the_Registry.aspx

    • Debbie says:

      I turned 60 last summer & emailed the registry to see if I needed to notify them or if I was automatically dropped at 60. They told me that although they will only ADD you to the registry until age 60, they will still consider you for donation until you are 61.

      • Darlene says:

        Debbie, It is good to know, that 5 years from now, when I turn 60 that I will still have an additional year to be a donor. I am blessed with excellent health, more so than many 20 year olds are, and just waiting to be called.

  8. Steve Klose says:

    I’m surprised that people want to be removed from the list because they now think they are “too old” to qualify as a donor. Your information is not “clogging” the registry; we’re in the computer age now and storing millions or even billions of files is not a problem. Don’t be upset that you haven’t been called. You are ready and willing to step up to perhaps save a life and that is all that matters.

  9. Nancy says:

    I am 60 years old. Should they take people off after a certain age?
    Been registered for over 18 years and was a donor for my brother 13 years ago.

    • admin says:

      Hi Nancy,
      You will remain an active member of Be The Match Registry until you age off at age 61. Learn more here http://marrow.org/Join/Medical_Guidelines/Medical_Guidelines_for_Joining_the_Registry.aspx#Age

  10. Susan says:

    It is interesting to see that people are considering dropping out of the registry because they are less likely to be called on. The registry provides us an opportunity to step in and save a life at little cost to ourselves. Wouldn’t we still try to rescue someone in danger, even though in our 50s it would be harder? Perhaps the more effective response would be for us to get our kids in the registry. For every one of us who is “aging out” we might replace ourselves with 3 or 4 new recruits!

  11. Tina says:

    I agree with Deb that facebook and tumblr are good but Twitter is very widely used by the “younger generation”.

    • Holly says:

      face book is by far the more commonly used site in comparison to tumblr and twitter.
      http://www.google.com/trends/?q=tumblr,+twitter,+facebook

  12. Angela says:

    I am over 50 and just removed myself from the registry….thanks for the update.

    • Carl says:

      Angelina, Why?! You obviously failed to read all the responses. So what that instead of the average 1 in 500 who actually donates, perhaps only 1 in 5000 from our age group is selected. We still might be the ONLY ONE to save a life! Your preliminary typing information was already paid for and is a record in the database.

  13. Janet says:

    I would like clarification on this. Are you sayiing that I (as a 50, about to be 51 year old) will not be called? Do you want me to remove my name?

    • Barb says:

      No, that is not what they are saying. You need to read the article.

      • Kristina says:

        Don’t take your name off the list, there is still a chance to help save a life. I signed up when I was in my twenties, but didn’t donate until I was 39. Keep in mind even if you sign up when you are young you may stay on the registry until 61, and never find a match, but staying on the list and willing there is always a chance you may be the one person to save a life. You would want people to stay in the list if it was you or your family member. The more people on the list the greater chance of finding a match.

    • admin says:

      The age range for joining and being listed on the registry has not changed. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, are still welcome to join the registry.

  14. Randy Brown says:

    After reading the article the first time, I would have to agree with most of the replies so far, but as Dr. Covington said, there is the chance a older person may be better suited for the recepient. I feel there would have been less negativity to the article had they left out “10 Times” in the by-line and having read “Younger members are more likely to be called for a match”. This would have had a lesser impact on US older folks who have been registered for awhile. I have been registered now for over 15 years; I just turned 52 in December.

  15. Rhonda says:

    Why would anyone chose to remove their name from the registry just because older registrants aren’t called as frequently? Isn’t the reason you registered in the first place was in the hopes of the rare chance that you would match with someone? I am 60 and will be removed at the end of the year when I magically turn 61. My hope hasn’t changed since I registered many years ago that I can help someone before I am no longer eligible. I would hope nobody else drops off the registry. It could be possible you are the one match that can safe someone’s life next month or next year.

  16. Nancy says:

    I am 52 and will stay on the registry as long as I can to have the amazing possibility of saving someone’s life. I just realized my son is turning 18 in a few months, so I will get him registered, too! I think I will have a recruiting drive around my now college-aged nieces, nephews, and cousins’ children – wow, I could replace myself with 12 new people by the time I turn 60.

    • Yania says:

      Although many of the replies were right on point that we should remain on the registry even if we are older, your response is one of the best in terms of the hope and optimism it provides. You took action when you first registered and you are taking action now by inviting others to registere as well. This is the only way to effect positive changes and continue to bring hope to so many in need. I’m going to do the same.
      God Bless.

  17. Leonard says:

    Get real. Each registration is just a few bytes of data managed and searched by computers. You’re not saving anything my withdrawing from the registry. In the scope of data size these days this is not even a drop in the bucket. Think about all the useless crap on Facebook compared to all the prayers hanging on that registry. If the only good match is from someone 62 years old, in good health, with high counts, having that option could make a big difference in a family’s life. If the registry’s IT folks think it is a big deal, get new IT folks.

  18. Taylor Corder says:

    I think if you’re over 50 and your response to this article was “Well, time to jump off the list” then you did not properly read the article. They were saying they would like younger people, like myself, to get more involved because my cells have only been through two decades and not more than five. That is a PREFERRED option, but not a NECESSARY option. In fact, you may be over 50, but still be the ONLY person in the registry that can help someone. The moment you take your name off that registry, you let that patient down. Personally, when I saw the above comments about leaving the registry, I thought, “This is how misinformed people behave selfishly and the sad part is that they misinformed themselves.”

    You should put your name back on the registry. Do a truly good, selfless, act for a stranger no matter what your age.

    • George Farmer says:

      I read the article and certainly picked up on the fact there are MANY factors aside from age. At 53, I am active and in excellent health, with no intentions of backing out until I’m 60, or they change the age. I was called up once as a possible match, and will be happy to respond if another call comes in.

  19. Maria Rosa says:

    Thanks Dr. Del Covington for your wise words: “Ten times more likely does not translate into a ten times better match.” When preserving and providing a loved one with with a better quality and quantity of life, definitely EVERYONE counts. We should not be discouraged about what statistically is happening to our population regarding this issue.

    A patient only needs to be matched, and that probability increases as does the number of donors, regardless of age, sex, etc. KEEP COUNTING ME IN UNTIL 60!

  20. Tam says:

    It would really be a shame for an older registrant to have such an immediate, negative reaction to this article that they would go so far as to remove themselves from the list! That’s so reactionary! Think about it for a minute. You still might be the perfect match who could save someone’s life– and it doesn’t HURT ANYTHING to have your name on the list.

  21. Doris Bercot says:

    I am in the older age bracket as well. I was a preliminary match once, but that was over 20 years ago, and nothing since.

    If we older potential donors are not preferred, then why waste our time and yours, and “clog” up the registry, as someone else wrote? I know, it’s because we may be the “only” suitable donor, but after over 20 years I have only passed stage 1 one time.

    YOu may as well take my name off your list now, since it is apparent that I am not the best match for anyone. I had hoped to be the answer to someone’s need, but it seems that in this case scenario that is not meant to be. I only have a few years left till I am not acceptable anyway.

    I understand we all want what’s best for the patient, and want a higher survival rate. I am not medically inclined, but I would have thought it a match was found, age would have nothing to do with it.

  22. Bob says:

    I have been on the list for 20 years. No calls yet … Maybe i am already off of he list!

  23. Jennifer Webb says:

    I’m glad to have health, to be any age I live to be, and to be registered to donate for a needy recipient. I will be available if called at any time. I don’t see why people want to withdraw their kind willingness of the past.

    What does it cost me to be on the list? Nothing. What’s the potential? Saving a life and being part of one of the sorts of grand and grace-filled stories I read!

    I’m not understanding how a person whose life was saved could look at sunsets and sunrises after his dramatic rescue and think, “I should fret every day about when I will die because my donor was this or that number. My doctor should have waited for a younger donor for me. My survival is less long-lasting as a direct result of this donor.” My health as a donor matters more than a number to a recipient.

    Does the doctor find that out my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health and my circumstances when he makes a decision among complete matches and close matches? My age-number is only one little piece of measuring my worth to a recipient.

    I imagine that a recipient would benefit more from a healthy donor who was active, joyful, stable, willing, available, and of considerable age before a much younger donor who was sedentary, stressed, unsettled, and too busy to be freely willing.

    Age is a mere number.

    The Registry needs, I presume, every willing registrant who ever signed on to remain available. And a lot of fresh new, young potentials as well. May our tribe increase.

  24. Annie says:

    I’m getting ready for PBSC next week – meds start tomorrow. I’m 35 and so excited to be able to do this for someone a half a world away. What a blessing to be able to give!

    • Becca says:

      Good luck!! You might be achy for a bit with the medications but that goes away a day or two after the shots stop. 🙂 I found out on my birthday that I matched a few years ago. It is an awesome gift to give.
      <3

  25. Jeff Mooney says:

    I am 53 years old and have been on the registry for years, and have never been contacted as a potential donor. I know the odds of ever being a match are at least one in 500 and greater. Hey, I play the lottery in hopes of a one in a million chance of winning… so why not remain on the registry in hopes of much better odds of “winning” the opportunity to save someone’s life! That would be like winning the lottery to me. I’ll remain on the list until I am no longer eligible. I urge all others already on the registry list to remain on the list. No matter what the odds, you may be the ONLY match capable of saving a life!

  26. JeniQ says:

    I’ve encouraged friends to sign up for the registry, but they balk at the cost of registering. Seems like subsidies for younger people would help them overcome that financial hurdle.

    • Holly says:

      I dont know what you guys are all talking about this “cost of registering” it cost me nothing to register. there are constant emails asking for cash donations which I delete. I signed up at the age of 18. I am a poor college student, I wouldnt have registered if it was going to be a personal cost.

  27. Carl says:

    I agree that the headline could have been more diplomatically phrased. On a fast reading, the implication in the headline does initially seem to gratutiously demean older participants unnecessarily. I also agree that while there is a preference for younger donors for valid scientific reasons, there still may be some for whom only an “older” participant will match. It would be hasty to remove ones name from the registry simply because of the misdirection of the headline. Stay on the registry and have the potential to save a life!

  28. Joanne M. says:

    Reading some of the responses of people who are insulted by this and want to remove their names from the registry is ridiculous. I was a donor at 42 and a prelim match at 48. I am intelligent enough to do my own research and already knew based on statistics that younger individuals, (males in particular) will bump me. But I also know, there may not always be a younger match, and I have other factors that may make me the better match. To remove your name because you are less likely to be called, means that you just don’t understand the program you joined, which should have nothing to do with you, but what is best for the patient. I will stay on the list until my health or age prevent me from doing so. This is an amazing organization.

  29. Bartlett Hunter says:

    A better reason to recruit youth is that they will have more years on the registry. A 20-year-old will spend 40 years on the registry; a 50-year-old only 10. That’s a 4:1 ratio already, independent of donor health or issues of cell quality.
    A good reason to stay on even if you are older (I am 57) is to set an example. How can you ask a young person to join this endeavour if you have dropped off the list in disappointment?

    Two more things to remember:
    – People of color are still highly UNDER-represented in the registry. Black and Asian brothers and sisters, stay in there and recruit your children! I’m proud to say that my daughter just joined.
    – There’s no age limit for blood donation. Keep visiting your local blood drives while you wait for the marrow registry to call.

  30. Tom says:

    I would like to point out to those suggesting cleaning out the older side of the Marrow Donors.

    if I had a healthy 70 year old and my kid who is 9.. had a choice between that and death.. what do you think I would choose?

    I am 46, I donated to a stranger in germany. they had AML.
    in the end.. a match.. 18 or 60 is a shot at hope.. where there may be none. every single donor is needed, and if you match.. you are the possibility of a future to someone else.

  31. Tom says:

    as a second added note.

    the primary selection is not age but the HLA typing.
    if the 20 year old has 8 or 9 of 10 matches and the 59 year old has 10 of 10.. then the best option is the 59 year old.

    with the base 6 they have as initial filters, I have 17 other people on the registry. I have no idea how many are 9/10 or 10/10.

    so a poll of 17.. now remove if you need one NOW. anyone who got the flu shot, who is sick, who may have been there but they can’t find because they moved and the contact info is no longer good.

    Everyone matters.

  32. Erica says:

    I have been on the registry for over 10 years and I am about to turn 58. I only have a couple of years left on the registry but I will remain available as long as possible just in case I may be the only hope for someone out there!

  33. John D Fleming says:

    Well, I’m out. I’ve reached 60. I’ve NEVER received a satisfactory, logical answer to my question:

    “Why — if I’m the ONLY donor that can be identified, and I meet the health requirements, but I’m over 60 — can’t I be a donor?”

    Mind you, that in the case where I’m the only possible donor, someone will die since there is an arbitrary age requirement. At my age, I may not be the optimal donor, but I may be the ONLY possible donor!

    “So guy, we’ve identified an acceptable donor, but he’s just reached 60, so you’re screwed. Go die in peace — after all, rules are rules.”

    Someone under 60 who does not meet the health requirements will be screened and rejected. Why can’t this be a reasonable compromise for those of us over 60? Why can’t I donate if I am the ONLY donor — at any age — and can pass reasonable health requirements and withstand the procedure? I really would like a credible answer and not the normal condescending, patronizing refuse that I’ve been offered in the past.

    Medicine is the only field of study in which such a non-solution would be acceptable. In any credible, ethical province of applied science, there would be an exception process.

    I’m here if ever needed, even though I’m over 60.

    John D. Fleming

    • Craig of Mentor, Ohio says:

      John – I wish everyone, no matter their age, had the desire to register like you do. Thank you for caring.

  34. Teri says:

    My husband’s donor was 46 years old. Not a perfect match but close enough they felt safe. Almost 2 years post transplant now with no relapse. I read these responses from people ready to jump off the list. It seems more like a “poor me, I’ve never been called” attitude. There are no guarentees that you will be called. People also griping about costs. There is NO cost to register. You may donate if you wish but there is NO cost REQIURED. My 21 year old daughter has been on the list for about a year and a half and just got notified for the 1st screening that she may be a match. She joined when we were looking for a donor for my husband.

  35. SAM says:

    I was in my 40’s when I got that call, and I was a match. I was asked and said Yes, I’ll donate. Sadly my recipient died just before I was scheduled to donate. :~(

  36. Mike S says:

    A stunningly poorly-worded article! Rewrite it — now!

    A few of you seemed confused, so let me simplify: if you are age 60 and you are the only match in the registry for someone who is about to die, you are an *outstanding* match!

    Why would you remove yourself from the registry — assuming you joined it in the first place for a chance to save someone’s life???

  37. Natalie Carmolli says:

    I am 48 years old, have been in the registry for almost 15 years and just got my first call. Still waiting to see if I’m chosen, but so many people never find a match at all I can’t help but think the more names on the registry, the better.

  38. Natalie Carmolli says:

    That’s so sad! I’m really sorry, but how wonderful that you were willing to help.

  39. Marilyn Ester-Btnesm says:

    I have been a donor for 24 years, received notification that I could possibly be the match ( Someone else was a better match) and barring some aging markers, I’m still in relatively good health, and now as I approach 60′ I will be dropped from the registry?

    Upon my death, I am also a donor for whatever organ is needed.

    Was not aware that a 60-year old marrow donor who has managed to maintain good health, would not be needed as a bone marrow donor.

  40. Stuart Hunter says:

    I am 56 years old. I have been on the donor list since 1995 and will be on it for 4 more years. I have given over 15 gallons of blood, and I am finishing up everything in the way of testing as a Altruistic kidney donor. I hope that I will be called in a year to donate marrow(off the active roll for a year following Kidney donation). All of that said, the article was a bit insulting and should really have been better worded and more supportive of those of us who have been waiting patiently for years hoping to get the call that will safe a life.

  41. Carol says:

    It is unfortunate that anyone would read this article and think to remove themselves from the donor list. The fact that patients have a better chance of long-term survival when receiving cells from a younger donor is just medical fact. Isn’t it the goal to help someone survive as long as possible? This isn’t about us, it’s about what’s best for someone in need…and isn’t that why we entered the registry in the first place?
    At 52 my odds for being called may be slim, but that would never qualify as a reason to remove myself from the list or to stop hoping to have the honor of saving another person’s life. In this registry, more is always better.

    • Joanne M. says:

      Well said Carol, I agree 100%

      • Pollyanna says:

        I joined the registry in 1992. I am 50 and in my second round of testing to see if I am a match. My sister in law donated her own stem cells to get herself into remission. I hope I am able to help this gentleman. I was called once before but ineligible at the time. I am thrilled at the opportunity and will stay on it until I get booted! I am also a blood drive coordinator and donor. Every bit we can do makes a difference.

  42. Becky Lane says:

    I joined the Registry in the 70’s in my 20’s and have never rec’d one call….now at 57 I am “over the hill” to probably ever be called….but I’ll keep my name on the Registry just in case I can SAVE A LIFE….or try to….by the way, all of you can help save lives too by DONATING BLOOD!! : )

  43. Richard5832 says:

    I was a donor at 40, and I am still in the registry at 57.

    At the time of my harvesting, I was told that I had an unusually high cell density, and when I donate platelets, the yield is still generally a double bag (“split”).

    I would hope that the medical professionals keep an open mind about older donors, who should never think of themselves as biologically low in quality.

    (My recipient made a complete recovery from an otherwise terminal illness.)

    • Jayasree says:

      Hello Basia,It was interesting to read your cmteonms! I am also a kidney donor (last summer)and want to give more. I am nearing my 50th blood donation which reminds me how important regular blood donations are. I also am hoping to be a match so i can share bone marrow. Interestingly enough my brother is in his final stage of being a bone marrow match, just th mouth swab is needed. We’re really hoping he will be a match!God bless all of you for caring about others!

  44. Carol Stephanski-Horton says:

    I can only wish that I can be a match and help someone…

  45. Stacey says:

    Candice Ordoff recommends removing older donors from the registry…… How could you possibly think this is a good idea? What if a person’s only match was one of those donors? Who says the people who rarely get called too donate are clogging up the registry??? Most proper on the registry will never be called, but we are here for a reason. If there is even the slightest chance of being able to give someone the gift if a second chance at life, then I’m staying on the list! I’ll probably never be called, but at least I know it’s not because I’ve been removed from the list due to age!

  46. Trish Park says:

    I will be 54 next Saturday. I work out 4-6 times a week and am training for my 6th half marathon in April. I may be way off base, but personally feel I am in much better health than when I was in my younger years, not sure how that affects my “count.” I hope and pray I can help someone, regardless of my age. These folks that took their names off appear to have done so because of hurt feelings. Being in my 50’s beats the alternative!

  47. Kristina says:

    Since nobody else has the guts to say it, I’m gonna have to be the one. Taking your name off the bone marrow registry list just because you’re less likely to get picked than someone else is SELFISH.

    This is a registry to help save another person’s life. Not the lottery or the NFL draft. You’re not gonna get a medal, your name in the paper or a million-dollar signing bonus for getting picked to let somebody suck out your bone juice. You’re gonna be asked to take off work, be put under, have fluid sucked out of your bones and suffer from a barrage of painful or tiring side effects when the whole process is over. The only reason why someone would take their name off a registry that helps save lives for not getting picked to undergo a thankless, surgical procedure is because they’re SELFISH. You’re just jealous because after reading this article, you think somebody younger than you has the chance to be the big stuff in front of their friends and family. You’re miffed that you’ll never get to gloat about how you’re so much better than everyone else because you saved a life. And to someone who’s only 25, that’s pretty immature and pathetic.

    I can tell you right now, I could care less whether or not I get called. If I do get called, I’ll do it, but I’m not going to gripe if in all the time I’m within the age range I never get called. It didn’t affect your lives having been on the registry for however the heck long you were and never getting called. Why should this article change anything? Seriously, if you want to be Mr. Big-in-the-britches humanitarian, there are other, more direct ways that offer a much quicker return than adding your name to a list.

    • Holly says:

      I have to say thank you Kristina! I joined the registry at 18 and am now 20 and i intend to stay on the list forever. and you are right if someone signed up for the chance of “winning a match” then they signed up for the WRONG REASON. I took over a week contemplating my decicion to join. I will admit if I were to be called I would be scared of the procedure and pain to come. But I know I would follow through with my commitment because a little of my pain saving a life makes it worth it. It is definately not about the gloating factor. If one slighly politically incorrectly written article is enough to waver someones committment then they were not truly committed in the first place.

  48. Shelli says:

    I do not even know how many years I’ve been on the registry (30? more?)–hoping daily to be called. I just discovered that I will be ineligible after my birthday next month. Appalled, I e-mailed my entire contact list and told then that I was devastated by the turn of events, but certainly hoped that as many as possible would step up to take my place on the registry. Amazingly, a fair number of young people, my kids’ (all already registered as Xmas gifts to me) friends, responded with thanks for the prompt and then later confirmed that they had submitted their registration.
    I am not a prima dona on that list, insulted by statistics or the reporting of them. I am a willing and determined donor–who disappointingly, was never called. When I reach my 61st birthday in a couple of weeks, I will gracefully relinquish that dream, but continue donating my O-neg blood every 56 days for as long as I am eligible and of good quality for that. And I will always promote the opportunity for both life-saving activities to any and all who will listen.
    I am an active EMT who has often been asked how I am able to do the tings I do in saving lives in an ambulance. I reply that everybody can save lives, be as big a “hero,” by donating regenerable lifesaving blood and/or bone marrow–no skills or training required!
    I wonder how many of the people withdrawing from the list for low odds of selection buy lottery tickets…what are the odds there??? And millions of people still try!!
    OK–stepping off my soapbox now…

  49. Mike says:

    I’ll be 57 in a week. I’ve been on the list since I was about 28 (when I donated whole blood and platelets).

    Never been called, but you already have my info, so what’s the harm in remaining on the list.

    There is always a remote chance of a match, that may be a better match than a younger donor.

    Besides, the other factors come into consideration as well, like your current health, liver functions, etc…

    Just would like to know if there is a match at the least, then make a valued decision at that time.

  50. Angela says:

    The reason we sign up is just maybe you could save somebodies life. I think they are trying to say the younger generation unlike the older generation are alittle more unaware that they possibly could save a life by being tested & put in the system. Get the word out it could be you or your own family member one day in need. Just because you are blessed with being healthy does not mean everyone else is. So many people only care about themselves today. Life is precious at any age.

  51. Rhonda says:

    Two years ago, when I was almost 52 years old and had been on the registry for several years, I was called as a match and donated Peripheral Blood Stem Cells that saved the life of a woman. I will leave my name on the registry until they remove me because I am too old. And I encourage all who are considering removing their names because of this article to please reconsider.

  52. David says:

    I’m 58 and my first reaction to the article was the same as many others…’screw it, I’m outta here’…but after my knee jerk reaction I thought ‘I’m staying until they make me leave!’…there’s no harm in staying registered even though chances are remote of being an actual donor. I may not be in my prime but as I look around at other I know I’m in better physical shape than a lot of those half my age.

  53. JJ says:

    I don’t think anyone should leave the registry. I am surprised that 60 is actually the upper limit. There are other reasons that can disqualify even young people as donors, but why not cross that bridge as you come to it ? I am surprised, with so many people not getting a match each year, that the 60+ group is not kept on, just in case there is a match. Why not take a chance if both parties are willing and the 60+ is able ? People are living longer all the time and many 60+ people are in great shape. Case by case basis, I’d say, with the donor fully advised of any increased risk.

  54. Greg says:

    A really good idea right now would be to take this page down as it causes more confusion than information. Rewrite and have it polled before reposting

  55. Jeri says:

    I agree with Dr. Covington that it makes older people like me want to remove our names from the registry. I will continue to donate blood and wait the 16 months to be removed.

  56. Tyler says:

    I am 20 years old and am donating marrow on Monday. I was on the registry for 1 month… I was shocked. I am giving the opputunity by the grace of God to help save a 28 year old man.

    Don’t take your names off. Let God take care of the selection process.

  57. Teri Thomas Allstaedt says:

    This is not about you or me, being insulted, mis-reading, or being overly sensitive ; it’s about helping, hoping and, if blessed to actually be a match, making a difference in someone’s life, maybe even saving it. I’m a fresh 54 and, as long as I am alive, will continue to hope and pray I might have a chance to make a difference in even one individual’s life. Leave your names on the list. They are trying to appeal to the younger people not trying to preclude us nor insult us. That’s how I perceive this. My apologies to those I might have offended as well. Everyone IS allowed to have and voice an opinion – one of the MANY wonderful things about living in America

  58. jen b says:

    This announcement makes it sound as if there are multiple donor choices for a majority of patients and that these multiple donor options are screened through for the best quality.

    I don’t think that accurately represents the reality of the situation. I believe, or have believed that finding a donor is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

    I am 53, and signed up with the registry when I was 36. I will stay with the registry because I don’t believe in age 🙂 and I do believe in hope! And if I am a needle in a haystack and someone finds me, I will reward their discovery!

    HOWEVER! I think that recruitment drives should be very careful in their wording, as folks who may be reluctant to sign up need to believe they could be someone’s ONLY hope. As a marketing endeavor, this is a bit of a stinker. Good luck and life all!

  59. jen b says:

    GOOD FOR YOU TYLER! WISHING YOU THE BEST HEALTH AND RECOVERY. BRAVO!

  60. Colleen says:

    Doc:

    I’m with you. I’m staying on the list, even though I’m close to the cutoff age.

    Since 2001 when I joined (to see if I–and any of my coworkers–was a match for his child) I have already been called once. Unfortunately, at the time, I was going through a career change and lots of stress, so I was not able to donate. It was a very hard decision to make.

    I’ll wait however long until I’m too old. Lightning does strike twice…and if it does again, I’ll be waiting.

  61. Kim says:

    Does it really cost money to be tested? I joined the list years ago and did not have to pay to be tested.

  62. Craig of Mentor, Ohio says:

    My wife was registered and I am still registered. We have/had been for nearly 20 years. My wife actually donated bone marrow to a man we did not know. Unfortunately he did not survive which was a pretty emotional loss for us even though we did not know him. I am now 51 and am happy to keep my name in the registry if there is any chance that it may help someone. Now my wife, diagnosed with lymphoma, may someday need to use the registry as a recipient. I pray that when and if that day comes, she will find a match. I personally thank everyone who has taken the time to get their self registered!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Craig, so sorry to here abt ur wife’s illness.
      My uncle has just been diagnosed also.
      The 1st thing I let him kno was that my bro & I r both registered if needed.
      Good luck!

  63. Rosa says:

    The article was poorly written, when one reads it. it feels as if they are discriminating donors older than 44, even thoug it states at the end that the age range is 18-60

  64. Donna says:

    I haven’t read the article yet, but I wanted to mention this.
    I read/heard somewhere that a match is more likely to come from someone of a similar cultural background, so that may be part of the 10 times more likely stat.
    As the cultural diversity of our country widens, so does the need for more culturally diverse donors.
    And, as more people of other cultures come together & have children, they become more & more culturally diverse with every generation.
    I have long heard that more minority donors are needed, & this will only continue as time passes.

    • Donna says:

      Ok, did just read the article, & really can’t see why everyone is getting so up in arms about this!
      As many of us older donors age & die, we have to be replaced, & it makes sense that they target a younger group to get this done!
      I don’t even see anything in there slightly insensitive!
      These days registering & donating has never been easier.
      To register, all they now need is a cheek swab, & many times donating is no worse then giving blood.
      Please, let’s not miss sight of the bottom line here.
      Every one of us has the chance to be that one match, & I’m going to hang around for as long as they’ll have me.
      To do otherwise would just be a waste.

  65. BCC says:

    I’m in my 40s. I’ve been on the list for exactly 11 years as of today, and today is the first notification I’ve ever gotten that I might be a match. I hope I am – that’s why I signed up! I’m staying on the list until they kick me off.

  66. Jean says:

    I am 60 years old, and have been on the list for decades. Why would you remove my name from the list? I’m in excellent health and would be happy to donate. I recognize that a younger donor would be better, but what if I am the only match available?

  67. Alice says:

    In my late 40’s, I was able to donate twice – a year between donations! What a blessing to ME. Stay on the list. What an easy thing to do to give someone the opportunity for a few more days, months, or years with their loved ones.

  68. Kathleen says:

    I will be 50 years old this June, and have been on the list for 20 years. All though I was told that the odds against ever being called up as a potential match were astronomical, I have been tagged as a potential match three times. The first two times, the match was nearly perfect but a donor who was even closer on the sub-groups was found; the third time the match was less than optimal but “close enough”, however the patient’s health hit a steep decline and he died before the transplant could be performed.

    Apparently my particular blend of anglo-slavic genes is common as dirt. So, I’ll stay on the registry and let the medical professionals make the decision as to whether I am the optimal match for someone in need. I’m still willing.

  69. Barb Keith says:

    I have been on the registry since the 1980’s and am nearing the end of my eligible years. When I read the headline, my first thought was “They have been successful in finding a wider ethnic variety among the younger recruits–hooray that more patients are likely to find a match!” Apparently my response was not the same as most everyone else’s.

  70. Wendy says:

    After reading many of the above comments ,my emotions are mixed. I have been on the list for over 25 yrs and never lucky enough to receive a call to be a donor.being inthe health field I had high hopes which proved disappointing .itseems that now I am ”too old” now.i sympathize with many eager donors .hopefullybefore wears too old we may receive a call?

    • Serhat says:

      Thank you, jafi4, for checking in on us! Yes, a year has paessd a difficult year. But, we are continuing to trust the Lord and holding on to the sure promise of seeing Katie again in Heaven. God bless you!

  71. Jocelyn says:

    I will be fifty this year and have found getting older both rewarding and frustrating. This article added to the frustration. I won’t be removing my name like some but understand the inclination. The wording in the article is insulting and makes one feel “less than desirable” I like becoming older, being wiser, being less affected by outside factors. I think their are real benefits. I will stay on in case I am “the one” option out there for someone. Maybe next time someone needs to rethink who is writing their articles and how it is going to make a substantial group of people feel trumped by youth. Also, I hope the author contemplates the folk that did remove them selves and the possibility that he might have just alienated someone who could have saved someone’s life. Just saying.

  72. Denise says:

    I admit that the article made be feel unappreciated and unwanted. I’m almost 58 and have been on list about 20 years always hoping that I’d be called. Won’t remove my name from list just in case.But please don’t give the guy that wrote this the “Diplomat of the Year” award! And good luck recruiting busy 20 yr olds.

  73. Daniel says:

    OK Im 51, O neg with rare antigens,the Red cross screams for my blood, Looks like im no longer needed by these folks. Wow, talk about printing a story to dis your biggest group of donors. You just spit in the face of someone that was trying to save a life.

  74. Marya says:

    Initially more discouraged than offended, I see no advantage to removing myself from the program.

    The article seems an attempt to encourage more young people to register.

    I will post it on Facebook and Tweet it, but wish it contained links to begin the enrollment process or give more information on the program.

  75. Clairec says:

    Yes, people should read the article and realize that it is NOT saying older people should remove themselves from the list. But the newsletter editor should also realize what a bad job of journalism they let through. In their zeal to encourage younger registrants, they made many loyal registrants feel useless. Poor strategy, and there’s no excuse for that.

    And why the 60 cutoff, anyway? Some people are old at 60, but others are not. I know one man in his 90s who recovered from serious burns on his face, chest and hands better than most in their 20s. I imagine his stem cells are in fine shape. Using the philosophy in this article, he should be on the list; just not called if there is a younger match available. I hate to think I might wait 30 years for a match, only to have one a month after my 61st birthday, when I become arbitrarily ineligible to donate – and this policy thus condemning the patient to death. Why not instead keep people on file for “last resort” situations?

  76. Paula says:

    Come on, friends, understand the intent of this article was not to dis us, but to explain how urgent the need is for possible younger donors. We are old and wise enough to know that aging does take it’s toll, but that won’t cause me to take my name off the registry, and I’m pushing 57. I’ve been on the registry for 30 years, and was called once, after the age of 40, as a possible candidate. I hope to meet lots of you at drives to recruit new members.

    • Masato says:

      I have been following your blog since April and have lrenaed quite a bit by watching ideas take shape and evolve (particularly in the way you challenge conventional measurements of charities). There has been a certain amount of expectation/suspense in waiting to see what the final “formula” for evaluation looks like.You’ve come across in your own research the same thing that I have in regards to that % of funds towards the cause metric…it’s borderline irrelevant. I say borderline because there is a piece there that can reflect how fiscally responsible or cost effective an organization is that gets reflected in that number…granted it takes a bit more analysis to get to the detail, but it’s safe to say if you saw a charity with a 60/40 ratio of money going towards programs/admin costs a red light is going to go off.“What really matters is what the programs are, and whether they’re helping people.”That right there has been a huge struggle to determine. So I have a few questions for you:-Do you still plan to do the following? “we want to share what we find in a centralized, organized place, where all the world can view, use, discuss, criticize, and improve it.”?If yes, will you also share the methodology used? Or is that really dependent on the type of organization you are evaluating?-Do you foresee your organization offering services to other organizations whom are looking for help in determining how to give their donor base the best bang for their buck?p.s. I hesitated using words like formula and methodology because I know this isn’t some computer algorithm that you just feed charity data into and it spits out “hey you are great” or “hey you are wasting our money”.

  77. Vicki says:

    Good article in terms of pointing out the need to recruit younger donors. All donors are critical and once you stop believing that then you risk becoming complacent about saving lives. I’m 56 and signed up because my friend in Colorado has leukemia. I not only recruited other friends but I got my 32-year-old daughter to sign up as well and we both donated money. It takes all of us networking within our social groups and featuring plugs in your work and organizational newsletters to get the word out. It’s all about marketing to the right groups. If you want young people, then go where they go on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and all that stuff. Put an ad on a transit bus, the MAX in Portland, Oregon, in college newspapers. Get college organizations to sponsor donor drives like they do for blood drives, pitting rival schools against each other. Make it as painless, easy and fun as possible. Team up with the Red Cross and organ donor organizations and request the governor of your state issue a proclomation that a particular day is donor day. Use key legislators to push the idea. Start a focus group at Be the Match and develop an outreach plan to capture younger donors and remind the older donors they are just as important, and that once you are on the registry it costs very little to keep them in the database. Those are just some thoughts.

  78. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been on the list for over 10 yrs and some times it’s hard to believe I’ve never been a match. I’m late 40’s but in very good health I run, exercise and eat healthy. Yes, it would be easy to say “I’m outta here” but reading these other replies I’ll stay on the list as long as I can and I’m talking my 19 year old daughter to join also.

  79. Bob Caulfield says:

    I’m 48 years old, and I pray everyday that I get picked to be a donor. My 10 year old son had a BMT 54 months ago from an unrelated donor. I wish the next email I get from them is telling me that I matched someone.

  80. Cathy says:

    Final quote of this insulting article…”The age range for joining and being listed on the registry has not changed. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, are still welcome to join the registry.” Wow thanks for telling me I am still welcome to join. Really? The wording was offensive. of course younger cells are better, but to discourage anyone is cutting off your nose to spite your face! More harm than good!

  81. Cindy says:

    Waaaa!!! They hurt my feelings!!! I’m taking my toys and going home!!! Are you people serious? Try reading the article again, for comprehension this time. After HLA matching, age of cells is relevant. This is not age discrimination, its medical fact. If you are the type of person to remove yourself because of this and feel good about the decision, I’d say you have a bigger deficiency than old cells.

  82. Pat says:

    Yep, I’m insulted. I’m not good enough now that I’m 55. But I’m not leaving until y’all kick me out at 60. Given my ornerinedd, my cells might still be useful.

  83. Jennifer says:

    Did a lot of you guys forget why you signed up in the first place? I hope it was to save someone’s life at any cost. A life… I am 51 years old and will never remove my name if there is the slightest chance I could save someone’s life. It’s not about us… It’s about them! How could you even entertain this thought?

  84. Jennifer says:

    I’m 26, I’ve been registered for 5 years and have not been called once. I’m not taking it personally, even if I’m supposedly “10 times” more likely to be called that many of you responding to this article. Lets face it, all those “other factors” can mean a lot more than any individual donor’s age.

  85. Steve Long says:

    I wonder who compiled this statistic. There is an old saying that white horses eat more than black horses. It turns out that is because there are more white horses. Could it be that there are more registered donors aged 18-44, a group spanning 26 years, than those 44-60, an age group spanning only 16 years?

    Why on earth would an author representing this organization write a piece that could possibly discourage any older donors, even one? It is evident from the responses here that that was the result. I expect also that one written negative response probably represents 10 or more like minded that were not motivated to reply. How unfortunate.

    I’m a 1958 model, I’m committed and in for the duration. In fact, I’m going to make it a point to doubly encourage “boomers” to register whenever I talk the registry up. Maybe some friendly competition at work to see which generation can sign the most donors? Perhaps I’ll never be called, but the chance to save a life is priceless.

  86. Tom says:

    ok.. took a little research on my side… and here is the logic.

    there are little parts of each cell’s chromosomes, called telomeres, whose length reflects the residual ability of the cell to divide. Guess what? — the telomeres of bone marrow cells get shorter with aging. If you do bone marrow transplants serially in mice, the bone marrow poops out when the telomeres are gone. Can bone marrow from a 65-year-old donor last another 45 years or more in a 20-year-old recipient? We don’t know.

    That is one of the factors in elimination by age. for other contries the age is lower.

    http://www.bethematchblog.org/2011/05/follow-up-to-why-are-there-age-limits-for-registry-members/

  87. Einar says:

    I agree, it was a poorly worded article. The literary genius who wrote it should go back to writing comic books… I’m in better health than most 20-somethings, I go to the gym nearly every day, eat right (no junk food), and get plenty of rest (rest is important for us old farts dontcha know…) Anyway, If anyone is selfish, it is the younger crowd who can’t seem to take time away from their pursuit of happiness in order to register. But, I’ll leave my antique unwanted cells on the registry until they forcibly kick me off. You just never know, the person who wrote the article just might need a transplant someday, I would laugh hysterically if I were a match. I’d still donate, but I would really rub it in… Also, I have no intention of “blowing my own horn” and inflating my ego just because I donated to save a life. I was raised better than that. But, I was also raised to respect the elderly. It seems that is going by the wayside these days.

  88. Rita says:

    I have been on the donor list for over 15 years and only called once last year but they didn’t use me. I turned 60 a few months back does that mean I should be taken off the list?

  89. Tim Passinault says:

    Think this was a bad idea to publish this……looks like you have many now that might just pull their names…not a very bright article to print! My Brother died of leukemia back in October of 2011… after 4 years of dealing with it…there was a long time of remission where his matched donor should have been used…it was NOT…instead the doctors kept putting it off until the bill was as high as they could make it and he was as worn out from the disease…..$$$$$ and greed is what killed my brother….he had a donor….de died penniless and left his widow with very little after a professional career as a Civil Engineer….Doctors at The Mayo Clinic are Theives!!

  90. Lionel Pace says:

    I registered when I was an Apheresis Donor (platelets).
    It’s a temporary measure until a marrow donor can be found and you can donate up to 24 times in a calendar year.
    HAVE QUESTION CONTACT YOUR LOCAL AMERICAN RED CROSS.

  91. David says:

    I’ve read a lot of but not all of the posts on here. I guess one thing that seems consistent is that the article was poorly written and resulted in some ‘hurt feelings’ to say the least. I’m 58 and have been registered for about 15 years. . I think it’s important for all to remember why we registered in the begining….that if ‘asked’ we’d be willing to step up with intent on giving a ‘gift’. As for myself, I’ll be happy donating blood every 56 days realizing that it’s unlikely that I’ll get the call but if I do I surely will be there 100%

  92. Catherine Williams Anderson says:

    I am a 52-year old healthy black female and has been on the registry for about 20 years and have not been called yet. I have been looking forward to helping someone and have not given up. Still waiting. Thanks for all the responses.

  93. James A. Lopez says:

    I’m 55 years old and have no intention of removing my name from the registry. Still, it’s a shame this article managed to insult so many of us who want to do what’s right. It should have been written with a little more thought to how it would be received.

  94. Carrie says:

    If you are over 44, please do NOT remove your name from the registry. There’s no “clogging” or cost to maintain your records until you age off on your 61st birthday. You can still save someone’s life. I know two 50+ year-olds who have been asked to donate in the last year.

    If you still want to help save lives when you are 61+, please donate funds to help the organization further its mission and/or host drives to encourage more people to join! YOUR ABILITY TO HELP THESE PATIENTS DOES NOT END ON YOUR 61st BIRTHDAY.

  95. Carol says:

    Hi
    My husband will be having a bone marrow transplant, soon he is 48 and only because of the register did they find a a match 2 in fact, so I pray people keep registering. I can never meet the donor but the hope in his eyes and others who have been through it makes it worth it believe me. I thank every donor from the bottom of my heart, because at least we have hope now.
    carol

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