Your kit will arrive in the mail.
Just CLICK HERE to go to the Be The Match website and fill in the online registration form. The test kit, containing 4 cotton swabs that you swab your mouth with will be sent to your home. It couldn't be easier to join.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about donating your marrow:
Q) Don't most people find a marrow donor within their own family?
A) No only 30% of people find a match within their own family. The rest find matches from strangers.
Q) Isn't donating bone marrow really painful?
A)Most accounts are that usually the pain isn't too severe. Most donors say the post operative pain is similar to a bruised area. If you donate your bone marrow you will be given a general or local anesthesia during the harvesting process. It requires no hospitalization and doesn't take long.
Q) Is the marrow taken from my spine?
A) No, the marrow is taken from the upper portion of your hip bones.
Q) Is the marrow always taken from the bone itself?
A) Actually no. 70% of the time donations are now made by a process called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) where the donor receives a medication that helps their bone marrow to over produce stem cells. The excess stem cells are released into the blood stream and are harvested through a process similar to blood donation. The blood is drawn from one arm, the stem cells are harvested in a machine and the rest of the blood is sent back to the donor into their other arm.
Q) Why do I need to join the registry?
A) Only 30% of patients in need will find a marrow match in time.
Q) Why does ethnicity matter?
A) Every patient's best chance of finding a match is within their own ethnic group. Currently 80% of Caucasians will find a marrow match but less then 30% of ethnic minorities will find their match in time.
Q) If I join who can I help?
A) You might be the match for any one of the 6000 patients in the United States currently seeking a life saving marrow match. You could also be a donor to a patient anywhere in the world. The registries make their registrants available to donor programs internationally. In fact roughly 50% of the matches made are international matches where the patient and donor live in different countries.
Q) Can I change my mind?
A) Yes, you can change your mind at any time. However once a patient has begun chemo prior to the transplant if you change your mind after their own bone marrow is destroyed by the chemo, they will most likely not survive.
Q) If I donate do I get to meet the patient who receives my stem cells or marrow?
A) It depends on where the patient lives. If they live in the U.S. meeting is a possibility a year after the transplant has taken place. If they live in another country it may not be possible to ever meet them.