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One of our precious daughters is living with Sickle Cell disease. This disease is more prevalent in African Americans, but anyone of any race/nationality can have sickle cell. Currently, one of the only cure's for Sickle Cell Anemia is to have a Bone Marrow transplant. In Honor of Black history month, I am writing about things that affect the African American community and how we can help. I want to encourage you to help save the lives of people, like our precious daughter. The civil rights leaders fought to improve the lives of others and my main goal is to encourage you to do the same, but in a different way. Why Join the Bone Marrow Registry? Because you can be the one to save lives. February 12, 2011 at the Annapolis Walk Community Center in Annapolis, MD (1701 Belle Dr.) there will be an opportunity for you to sign-up to be on the Bone Marrow Registry. If you are outside of the MD/DC area you can also go to marrow.org to find a location near you. You can also call 1-800-marrow-2, or go to bethematch.org
Why is Bone Marrow donation critically important for African-Americans to participate in?*
"Every year more than ten thousand Americans are diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases, and their best or only option for a cure is a marrow transplant from someone outside their family. They turn to Be The Match to find a donor who can give them a second chance at life. Each new member of the registry could be that match"
What is marrow and what does a transplant do?
"Marrow is the spongy tissue found in the cavities of the body's bones, mostly in the hip area. It produces special stem cells that divide and form the different cells that make up the blood and immune system. The goal of a marrow transplant is to replace the defective cells with donor stem cells, allowing the recipient’s marrow to then produce healthy blood cells and platelets. A marrow transplant can be used to treat many different types of cancer and other blood cell production diseases."
How can bone marrow donation save lives?
"A successful transplant relies on a donor’s tissue type matching a patient’s tissue as closely as possible. The cheek swabs collected from a new registry member contain samples of the potential donor’s tissue type. Once the cheek swabs are processed, all the tissue type information for that potential donor is entered into the registry, so a doctor can search the registry for the best possible match for the patient. If a registry member is a match for a patient, they will be called. At this point, they’ll be given much more information about the process. There are two ways to donate blood-forming cells. There is a non-surgical method called PBSC donation, which is the most common way to donate. The other method is by giving marrow. Giving marrow is done under anesthesia so the donor does not feel any pain during marrow collection. In PBSC donation, the donor might feel a few minor side effects before donation, because of a drug that they take. They’ll be back to their normal routine in 1 or 2 days. A marrow donor can expect to feel some soreness for a few days or longer. Most marrow donors are back to their normal routine in 2 to 7 days. With either type of donation, only 1 to 5 percent of the donor’s marrow is taken, so the donor’s immune system stays strong. The marrow naturally replaces itself within 4 to 6 weeks. There’s more information about the donation process in the “Take the First Step” brochure and video. We’ll talk about those in a little bit." *Reference: The information answering the questions above was found on the bethematch.org website at the enclosed link. *Flyer provided by Anika Wilkerson - President and Founder of the Lauren D. Beck Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc.