Monday, September 26, 2011

Have you joined Be The Match?

Be The Match is the new name for the National Marrow Donor Program. Why am I writing about it here?

Everyone's help is needed, but if you are a non-white, or if you are multiracial... YOU are needed even more.

For example:
Right now, the chance of finding a match on the Be The Match Registry is close to 93 percent for Caucasians, but for African Americans and other minorities, the chances can be as low as 66 percent. The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. There are 9 million people on the Be The Match Registry, but only 7 percent are African American.
Wait a minute?-- "[P]atients are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. What does that mean for the multiracial community? It means I better get registered!

From MixedMarrow on Facebook:
Only 3% [of register minorities in the database] are mixed race. Because not all mixes are the same combination, the actual pool of donors is lower than 3% because of the variety of possible mixes in the registry. Race holds a critical role in finding a marrow match. DNA must be similar between the donor and the recipient in order for a match to occur. For mixed patients, their monoracial parents and relatives will not match them and siblings only hold a 1 in 4 chance. Not only is race a factor, but genetic makeup of which antigens are passed down from each parent makes finding a match that much harder. Finding a marrow match has been compared at times as having the odds of “finding a needle in a haystack” or “winning the lottery.”
If this affects you as strongly as it does me, I urge you to act on your feelings and not wait another day. Registration is easy, and if you are of mixed heritage, your participation is needed so badly, that the registration fee will be waived.

If you are multiracial, biracial, visit mixedmarrow.org to get started and receive your kit. After you fill out information and do a simple cheek swab, you'll mail it in and be registered. It's as easy as that!

My cheek swab for Be The Match

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