Someone in our Community Needs a Bone Marrow Donor
Meet Danae. At age 16, Danae was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and two years ago she successfully completed chemotherapy and surgery for removal of the tumor. Unfortunately, she has now been diagnosed with Myelodyplastic Syndrome (MDS), which is a rare side effect from her chemotherapy that causes bone marrow to fail. This incredible young woman just finished her first year of nursing school at Dominican University, but now needs to have a bone marrow transplant before her MDS progresses into an aggressive form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Does donating bone marrow make a difference?
A bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be the best treatment option or the only potential for a cure for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and many other diseases. Danae is one of more than 10,000 people who need transplants every year.
What will I have to do?
To join the Be The Match registry, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork and provide a sample of cells by swabbing the inside of your cheek.
How is a match determined?
Doctors look for a donor who matches their patient’s tissue type—specifically their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue. Your immune system uses HLA proteins to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not. Therefore, the closer the match between the patient’s HLA tissue and yours, the better potential for the patient.
If I am a match, how does bone marrow donation work?
People can donate bone marrow in two different ways. One is by donating blood— it’s a procedure similar to donating plasma. The donor gets an injection of a drug to increase the number of blood-forming cells, and once the blood is collected, the marrow cells are separated from the blood.
The other method is a surgical procedure that involves extracting marrow cells from the pelvic bones. This procedure takes place in an operating room, but donors are given anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. After donation, your liquid marrow is transported to the patient’s location for transplant.
Could you be Danae’s match? Come and find out!
The national Be the Match marrow donor program is offered at Mission Hope Cancer Center to help local patients find a potential donor. The next Community Bone Marrow Registry Drive will be held on Saturday, September 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Joining the registry is free, fast, and easy! Our Nurse Navigator will explain the process and answer all of your questions. Can’t make it? Personal appointments to participate may also be made directly with Sean Hunt, RN, BSN, OCN, at 805.346.3401.