It’s on you! Take action now.

Posted June 2nd, 2014 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, News, Patient Stories
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A match is out there

Josh, searching patient Josh was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth, a painful and life-threatening blood disease that most commonly affects African Americans. His first crisis from the disease occurred when he was only 6 months old. Although his spleen was removed to prevent another crisis, Josh suffered a stroke at 18 months old, paralyzing his right side of his body.

Now, at 7 years old, Josh’s best chance for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Like 70 percent of patients, Josh does not have a matching donor in his family. His family, friends and even ABC’s Good Morning America have helped him in his search—hoping to find a match for Josh and others in need of a life-saving transplant. But out of the 11 million potential bone marrow donors listed on the national Be The Match Registry®, not one is a match for Josh.

Josh’s search for a match is more challenging, because of his African American heritage. Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and African American patients have the lowest odds of finding a match compared to all other populations. More African American donors are urgently needed to save more lives.

Vera, Josh’s mom, knows there is hope. “We know there is a match out there,” said Vera. “We just need people to step up and join the registry. Unless you actually go out and get tested, you may never know if you could be the one to save someone’s life.”

Donating is simple

Kendall, marrow donorKendall, 20, knows first-hand the impact that bone marrow donation can have on a patient. Her mother donated bone marrow twice to her uncle to help him fight leukemia. While Kendall’s uncle did not survive, she was struck by the hope bone marrow donation gave her family. When she was old enough, Kendall joined the Be The Match Registry as a potential bone marrow donor in memory of her uncle.

Several months after joining the registry, she learned that she was a match for a young African American girl with sickle cell anemia. In late 2013, Kendall donated peripheral blood stem cells through a non-surgical, outpatient procedure. She was back to work within two days of her donation.

“I think that bone marrow donation sounds like it might be a hard process to go through, but it was actually really simple,” says Kendall.

Kendall has yet to meet her recipient, but already says she would donate again in a heartbeat. “I know she’s young, probably a strong girl, and if she ever needs anything from me in the future, I’ll definitely always be willing to help.”

It’s on you

You could be the cure for someone with a disease like sickle cell anemia or a blood cancer like leukemia by donating bone marrow.

Help save more lives. Get the real facts about bone marrow donation at http://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/How-marrow-donation-works/. Take action today.

3 Responses to “It’s on you! Take action now.”

  1. Ugo says:

    Hi, this is such a wonderful find for me today! We have a daughter who was born with Sickle Cell disease. We qualified for a free bone marrow transplant courtesy of the National Sickle Cell Foundation here in Lagos, Nigeria. The procedure is carried out by the Mediterranean Haematological Institute in Rome, Italy.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t have a match in our immediate family. So that dream died.

    However, a few months ago, I started really thinking about it and realized what we really need is a Blood/Bone Marrow registry. We decided to do some research and find out more about it and today I found Be The Match!

    I will be sure to return and let you know how this drive is going. In Nigeria, 150,000 babies are born every year with SSD. That’s a lot of babies. But we are also the largest Black nation in the world with a population in excess of 160 million black people, so I feel sure donors can be found, even for Josh all the way in America. If we had a registry here, we could have collaborated!

    God bless you for the good work!

  2. Miralda says:

    Josh, i’m sure there is a match out there waiting to be found buddy. I have been a registered donor for 18 years now and was contacted a few years ago as a possible match. I was extremely touched by the news and there was no doubt or hesitation in my mind as to whether I still wanted to do this. Although I was not chosen out of the few people who were possible matches, I felt honored that I was a potential match and could have made a difference in someone’s life.
    I am in the medical field and in my practice see many patients of different nationalities. I would love to share your story and try and help recruit donors.
    I am hoping a match will come soon!

  3. Yared Hailu says:

    This is to inform you that even if I am residing in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa of course in Africa am willing to be on the Be the Match Registry to help anyone in need of bone marrow donation.

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