July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

Posted June 19th, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, News, Patient Stories
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Nivia needs a marrow donor

Nivia_imageAt 16 years old, Nivia of San Leandro, Calif., already knows she wants to be a pediatric hematologist. That way she can one day help those going through the same battle she’s hoping to overcome: sickle cell disease (SCD).

Most prevalent among African Americans, this life-threatening blood disorder causes debilitating episodes of pain and fatigue. Nivia has been fighting the disease since she was a young child, and receives blood transfusions every four to six weeks. Her only hope for a cure is bone marrow transplant.

Like most patients who need a bone marrow transplant, Nivia does not have a suitable donor in her family. Instead, she’s relying on the Be The Match Registry® to find a matched donor.

Her African American heritage makes the search a challenge. That’s because patients most often find a suitable donor in someone with similar racial and ethnic heritage. And there’s a dire need for African Americans to join the registry. Nivia and her mother have hosted numerous donor registry drives around the San Francisco Bay Area, educating the community about bone marrow donation.

Joining the registry is easy

KimberlyKimberly first learned about the urgent need for African American registry members when she was a freshman at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“I thought ‘I’m black, I should get on it’,” Kimberly recalled. “Why not? Registering was easy.”

By completing a health questionnaire and swabbing the inside of her mouth with a cotton swab, Kimberly joined the Be The Match Registry.

Within three months, she was called to donate marrow to 42-year-old woman fighting leukemia. At the same time, her 45-year-old godmother was also fighting cancer, so the opportunity to save a life hit close to home.

Kimberly donated peripheral blood stem cells through a non-surgical, outpatient procedure similar to donating platelets or plasma. Two days after the donation, she was back to her normal activities.

It’s on you

This July, help African American patients fight blood cancers, like leukemia, as well as sickle cell disease.

Take a few minutes to join the Be The Match Registry. If you are asked to donate, you could be the only one out of millions who can save a person’s life. Get the facts and join the registry at www.BTMItsOnYou.org.

If you’ve already registered and are waiting to save a life, tell your friends about Kimberly’s story and the need for African American donors. Visit www.BTMItsOnYou.org to take action and spread the word today.

13 Responses to “July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month”

  1. Katie Smalley says:

    I want to get tested to help what do I need to do

  2. Donisha says:

    I am on the registry, no hits yet. 🙁

    I wanna help!!!

  3. Anita says:

    I joined in 1995 as I was a platelet donor but after a few years I didn’t think that I would ever be requested to see if I was a positive match until a few weeks ago. They said that I may be a match and now I am in the process of completing their process to see if I am a 100% match or not. Life is precious….share it with someone in need.

  4. Kimberly says:

    I have been on the registry for several years. I received a letter once. I thought I was a match, but never heard back. I am O negative and donate blood at Hoxworth Blood Center, where I also got registered with Be the Match. I am praying that one day I will be the match that can make a difference in someone’s life. Who’s life will you save?

  5. Cindi says:

    I’ve been on the registry for over 20 years, now. I keep hoping that one day I will have the opportunity to give that most precious gift!

  6. Cynthia says:

    I registered years ago when I found out a coworker was diagnosed with Leukemia. I just recently went online to see if I was still in the system for Be The Match and I was!! My niece whom is 10 months old has just been diagnosed with Leukemia and has begun the fight of her life only a few days ago. She is a VERY rare if, the only case, of her kind as well as her age. She is getting the BEST treatment ever at Sloan Kettering in NYC and I am confident she will recover! Immediate family is not allowed to donate, but if I can help someone else out there, I would love to be able too!! I pray for all those that have been diagnosed and are fighting for their lives.

  7. Victoria says:

    I’ve been on the registry for several years,now.I pray some day I will give the gift to save a life.

  8. Dima says:

    Your articles are for when it abtoyusell, positively, needs to be understood overnight.

  9. Aprill says:

    My baby daughter,Demii got a call as a match for a 14 yr old girl!!!!!… We all are emotional and crazy happy that she can help save someone’s life!!!!.. pls keep us in your prayers…

  10. Jacqueline Brinkley says:

    I Would like to host a Bone Marrow Drive in honor of my brother. I did the test and I was a match. He passed away June June 30, 2018 he had pneumonia and fluid in his lungs

    • Ryan Pena says:

      Hi Jaqueline. Thanks so much for reaching out to us. We’re so sorry to learn about the loss of your brother. To host a donor dive, simply fill out this form: https://bethematch.org/support-the-cause/participate/host-a-donor-drive/. A Be The Match local community engagement representative will contact you for next steps! Thank you! 💙 ~Ryan

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