Community: Online Bone Marrow Drive

-1I am a first-year medical student,
president of the Yale Medical Student Council, and a reader of the Health Care
Blog. I am writing to make you aware of an effort among members of my
class to increase registration for bone marrow donation. This was
inspired by a classmate, Natasha Collins, who has recurrent leukemia
and requires a bone marrow transplant. A major issue is that Natasha is
of mixed ethnic background, making it particularly difficult to find
her a match.Members of my class have been very active in trying to increase
awareness of the need for bone marrow donors – they have organized an
online bone marrow drive, and achieved some degree of publicity via
, YouTube, and local media coverage.I think this story may be of interest for your readers. For me and
many of my classmates, who are training to be future physicians,
Natasha provided a different perspective on disease and the ways we can
try to help a sick patient or friend – not only by medical
interventions, but by social networking and publicity. If I can provide
any further information, or if you'd like to contact anyone else
involved, please let me know.

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5 replies »

  1. DKMS Americas is a national nonprofit bone marrow donor center, accredited by the National Marrow Donor Program. You can easily register as a life-saving bone marrow donor by either:
    -Visiting the DKMS website http://www.dkmsamericas.org/marrow-donor-form
    -Going to the DKMS Americas office: 33 East 33rd Street, suite 501 (between Madison and Park Avenues) New York, NY 10016
    -Calling 1-866-340-DKMS
    To register as a donor you must meet the eligibility criteria http://www.dkmsamericas.org/category/bone-marrow-donors/become-donor/eligibility and be at least 110 pounds. (If you are under 110 pounds, and you are an unrelated donor, the transplant center will not be likely to accept you as a donor because it is too difficult/painful to get your cells via the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection method.)
    DKMS places all registerd donors on the National Be The Match registry, operated by the NMDP. DKMS never makes the testing fee mandatory, and relies on donations, which are tax deductible.
    You might be the one person to save a life. Please register today.

  2. I wish I could donate. I have had CFS/ME for about 20 years now. Found out my husband has stage 4 lymphoma. We don’t know what kind yet. I assume I can’t be a donor. I was told I can’t be a blood donor by my doctor soon after diagnosis as we don’t know how this is caught. I do have 2 active viruses in my system presently and am in relapse, not great when your husband has just been diagnosed…You are doing a fantastic thing! Oh…I am 56 yrs old. Does age matter? Finding this is uplifting and at this point, I do need a lift. My husband? He will be seeing Dr. Costa @ MUSC on Monday. Husband is James R. Thank you!

  3. I’m a registered donor. It’s very easy to register.
    My son donated this past summer and it is not very hard.
    Although bone marrow biopsies are uncomfortable, for donors all the prep work can be done with blood tests. If you donate marrow, as opposed to stem cells, it’s an outpatient surgery and unlike biopsies they give the donor plenty of anesthesia!
    You have several pre-appointments and then the day when you donate.
    He was out until 3 a.m. the next night so much for a lot of recovery time.
    It is a miracle to see someone live a disease free life because of a bone or stem cell donation. It is something that money can not buy.

  4. Here is a link I found about weight guidelines.
    To answer your question, I think they have the guidelines in place to ensure donor safety, first and foremost. According to the Registry, donors must be between 18 – 60 years old. Maybe there are special circumstances for donors that are family members? You posed a very good question because I have also heard of siblings being donors. I hope my response is somewhat helpful.

  5. I recently went to a bone marrow registration drive sponsored by the JCC in New York, only to be told that as a particularly petite woman, I did not weigh enough to qualify as a bone marrow donor. I know that sometimes children act as donors for their siblings, so I was wondering whether that was a strict policy and what the rationale was. Anyone know?