Brendan's Donor Circle
Hello family/friend/stranger of Brendan’s! Considering joining the bone marrow donor registry, but have some questions before you order your kit? Here are some answers!
1. Bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplants are when healthy cells are taken from a donor and used to treat a patient suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, or other blood cancers and disorders. The registry is used when no match can be found in the family. Each year, 20,000 people await a stranger to match with them and give them a cure.
2. No, you won’t donate right away, if at all! To be a match for a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant, there are a lot of specific tissue-type genes involved. There is a 0.1% chance you will ever be called to donate to a stranger. This percentage is slightly higher if you are a male and/or a POC. Often, finding a match is a game of statistics: the more people that join the registry, the better the chances are for a patient, so invite everyone! I say it’s low risk, high reward. The chances of matching are slim, but if you do, you save someone’s life!
3. No, it doesn’t hurt (that episode of House made us look bad). 80% of the time someone is called as a donor, it’s a peripheral blood stem cell donation (PBSC), which is like donating blood via apheresis. Just chilling and watching Netflix for a few hours, then BAM! you’ve saved a life. The other 20% of the time (usually when the patient in need of a transplant is a child) you are put under anesthesia and it is a biopsy needle to the crest of the hipbone. You’re given pain medication, but most people don’t need it and say it feels like bumping your hip on the countertop. You leave the hospital, and again, BAM! you’ve saved a life. The Gift of Life Marrow Registry covers every expense so that you don’t spend a cent. To me, any minimal discomfort you may experience is worth curing another person’s cancer.
4. It’s okay if hospitals and needles and blood make you nervous, but don’t let that stop you from joining the registry! Even if you make that slim 0.1% chance of becoming a donor, you can overcome your fear to save someone’s life. Wouldn’t you want a stranger to do the same, if they were the only match to cure your loved one’s cancer?
If you have more specific questions than what/when/how, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I will get back to you with resources and answers within a day.