The factors used to match donors with patients are inherited, similar to how hair and eye color are inherited from our parents and ancestors. This means the best chance of finding a match is between two people who share ethnicity or genetic heritage. There is an urgent need to diversify the registry, so all patients can find a lifesaving donor when one is needed. Currently, many ethnic groups are underrepresented, making it difficult to find matches. For multiracial individuals and those of African ancestry, this is a huge challenge. No matter your ethnic background, we encourage you to join the registry, as you could have the amazing opportunity to save someone's life.
Amare Asencio-Price (above, left)
Amare Asencio-Price is 14 years old, the valedictorian of his 8th grade class, but was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is of combined Hispanic and African American ancestry, so his best chance of finding a match is with people who share either one or both of these groups. Amare is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., is looking forward to starting high school, and loves playing sports with his little brother. To learn more about Amare, click here.
Rose Bradwell (above, center)
Rose Bradwell is a 46-year-old wife and mother of three daughters and a Physician Assistant who is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She needs a blood stem cell or bone marrow transplant for her best chance of a cure. A resident of West Palm Beach, Fla., Rose is of Haitian descent, and does not yet have a matching donor in the registry. Her best chance of a match is with someone of Haitian or African ancestry. To learn more about Rose, click here.
Dereck Boles (above, right)
Dereck Boles is a 26-year-old father and businessman who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and is in urgent need of a lifesaving transplant. A former University of Arizona defensive tackle, Dereck has a loving family, and is not only the father of a little girl, but he has a baby boy on the way. A resident of Orlando, Fla., Dereck’s strongest chance of finding a match is with a donor of African American ancestry. To learn more about Dereck, click here.
Anyone 18 to 35 years old and in general good health can join the registry by completing a cheek swab kit at an in-person drive or by ordering a kit sent to your home. Complete a short questionnaire, swab inside your cheeks, and return the kit – simple! There is no cost to donate, and your personal information is held in strictest confidence under the same HIPAA regulations that apply to your doctor's office.
If you are ever a match for a patient, Gift of Life will call and email you to let you know you have the chance to save someone's life.
There are two methods of donating, Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation, and Bone Marrow donation. A PBSC donation is similar to donating blood platelets. An apheresis machine will collect the needed cells from your circulating blood, then the remaining blood is returned to you. More than 90% of transplants use the PBSC method. Most donors feel fully recovered the next day.
Bone marrow donation is an outpatient procedure at a hospital that takes about two hours. The donor is under general anesthesia, and marrow is extracted from the hip bone using a needle. This procedure is most often used to help children fighting blood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, and accounts for less than 10% of transplants. Donors are discharged after recovering from anesthesia and typically are able to return to work within 48 hours. Some donors experience a backache for a few days.
Your stem cells and bone marrow will grow back on their own in a matter of weeks.
To join the registry, click the orange button, and give hope to thousands of patients who are waiting to hear those miraculous words, "Your donor has been found."