As stem cell and marrow registries across the globe prepare for World Marrow Donor Day (WMDD) on September 18, 2021, a new comic book is being unveiled to honor the real-life heroes who voluntarily donate blood stem cells and bone marrow to save the lives of patients battling blood cancer. Entitled The Call, the digital comic book was created by Gift of Life Marrow Registry in collaboration with cartoonist Angus Cameron. To download the comic, click here or on the cover image below.
The comic book features the tale of a young superhero who selflessly answers The Call to become a stem cell donor and finds purpose in being identified as a lifesaving match for a patient in need. In addition, it celebrates donors worldwide in recognition of World Marrow Donor Day. Created by the World Marrow Donor Association, WMDD salutes the more than 39 million volunteers from 55 countries around the world who have become part of the international marrow registry in hopes of saving lives.
“Twenty-six years ago, a real-life hero named Becky gave me the ultimate gift when she donated bone marrow that cured my leukemia and allowed me the opportunity to have hope and health,” said Gift of Life Marrow Registry Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg. “Marrow donors may not wear capes, but they all have extraordinary courage and the conviction to step up when called upon to help someone in need.”
The comic book is also part of Gift of Life’s efforts to appeal to and recruit those who are 18 to 35 years old and in good health, which is the most requested age group from transplant centers.
Click above to view the flipbook of The Call
“We’re always looking for ways to tell the stories of our donors and thank them—both those who have already donated and those who are on the global registry waiting to donate,” said Gift of Life Marrow Registry Director of Organizational Advancement Marti Freund. “This comic book gives us an opportunity to not only thank donors but also drive awareness about blood cancer, sickle cell disease, and childhood cancer, which are all recognized in September.”
While a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant can serve as a cure for leukemia, sickle cell and other blood diseases, only 30 percent of patients have a matching donor in their families. The remaining 70 percent must hope that a compatible stranger can be found using the worldwide registry. Over 50,000 patients per year look for a matched donor outside their family.
“Saving a life begins with one remarkable person who takes the first step to swab their cheeks to join the registry and then answers the call to donate,” said Freund. “We hope that in seeing themselves represented as the superheroes they are, existing donors can be proud on their actions while new potential donors can be inspired to join the registry.”
The cartoonist Cameron has illustrated for ad agencies, film production companies and publishing houses all over the world, specializing in graphic novels, comics, character design and narrative storytelling. His work has won numerous advertising awards including the prestigious Grand Prix prize at the Loeries Advertising awards.