Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1 year Anniversary as a Donor!



One year ago yesterday, March 22nd 2010, I came upon a local blood donation bus and had a few extra minutes on my hands so I went in to donate blood.  By the time I walked out of there, about a half hour later, I was not only a blood donor but I had also signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry.  For those of you that don't know about the National Bone Marrow Registry I would like to shed some light on a few misconceptions and answer a few questions some of you may have about the process.

What is the National Bone Marrow Registry?
According to their website, "The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and our Be The Match Foundation® are nonprofit organizations dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant they need, when they need it."

Our Mission

"Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases. Many of them will die unless they get a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of people do not have a donor in their family and depend on our Be The Match Registry® to find a match to save their life."

Our story 

"When their 10-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with leukemia, Robert Graves, D.V.M., and his wife Sherry were ready to do anything they could to save her. They agreed to try a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor — the first ever for a leukemia patient."


"Laura received her transplant in 1979 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The treatment gave her an extra year and a half of life."

"And it inspired Dr. Graves to launch a quest to create a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow. His early efforts brought together other patient families and transplant doctors, spurring a federal mandate that led to the creation of the National Marrow Donor Program. We began connecting patients with unrelated donors in 1987 with a registry of just 10,000 volunteers."

 There are many myths and misconceptions about bone marrow donation including that it is painful and that you will need a long recovery time.  The truth is, "there can be uncomfortable but short-lived side effects of donating PBSC. Due to taking a drug called filgrastim for five days leading up to donation, PBSC donors may have headaches, joint or muscle aches, or fatigue. PBSC donors are typically back to their normal routine in one to two days."  In my opinion, those side effects are worth dealing with if I can help save someones life!  I have been registered as a donor for a year now and haven't heard anything from them yet and I may go my entire life not hearing a single word from them but at least I know that I am there if someone needs me.  


How can you become a Bone Marrow Donor?
Becoming a Bone Marrow Donor is actually easier than you might think!  You can either visit the National Bone Marrow Registry Website or the next time you donate blood you can mention that you would like to sign up for the Bone Marrow Registry to the Nurse or Pheblotomist taking your blood.  They should be able to provide you with the correct paperwork to fill out.  If you knew you could help save someone's life by simply giving them something you had, wouldn't you do it?  In a heartbeat, am I right?  Sign up for the National Bone Marrow Registry and make sure to keep your information updated so they can get in contact with you if you are ever chosen as a match!  If being a Bone Marrow Donor makes you a little squeemish, you can always donate other ways as well!  

This post is written in my opinion, I did not receive anything for this post.

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