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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Six year old Baylor Fredrickson needs a marrow match. Could it be you?

If you're on Facebook you've most likely seen this picture and post about six year old Baylor Fredrickson as it's been shared 426,789 times as of this morning. Author Michael Lewis knows Baylor personally and made the request for help that is now virally traveling across the internet.

This is a plea I've made on this blog many times before:
  1. If you haven't registered to become a bone marrow/stem cell donor please consider doing so.
  2. If you want to help but are unable to register please encourage others to join in your place. 
Both endeavors are equally valuable.

Like my cousin Tami did, Baylor currently needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He's fighting cancer and every day he has to wait for a match gives the cancer another advantage, wears him down, make his recovery post transplant (even if a match is found in time) that much harder to recover from. Cancer is bad, everyone knows that. But the very procedure that can save a patient's life when they receive a marrow/stem cell transplant has an arduous recovery period filled with complications like infections and graft vs. host disease. At that point a patient needs to be healthy enough to undergo and survive the transplant itself.

So Baylor doesn't just need to receive a transplant, he and all patients need to receive one as quickly as possible. It's their best chance.

Please don't make them wait any longer than they have to. Donating is not the painful ordeal many believe it to be. That donating marrow is like a spinal tap is a myth. The majority of donations are now made through a method called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection, which is similar to how plasma is harvested. Your blood goes out through one arm, runs through a machine that collects the stem cells, then the rest of your blood is returned into your other arm. Most people don't even need a prescription strength pain killer following their donation. Over the counter remedies are usually enough.

Donations harvested from the pelvic bones (not the spine) are done under anesthesia so the donor isn't even awake to be aware of any discomfort or pain.

I've always felt what's a little discomfort to save a life? If I am ever a match I'd be thrilled to be able to help someone in need. I've been in the registry since 1995 and have yet to be contacted but I'm holding out hope that someday I will be.

And though Baylor is half Asian half German I'm imploring everyone who reads this post to register. Though his match will most likely be found in someone of similar ancestry, there is a slim, rare, chance that it could be with someone from a different ethnic group altogether. (Marrow matches are made through chromosomes, not blood types, so this is why ethnicity is a factor.)

In the United States you'll need to be between the ages of 18-60 years old to register. The easiest way to register is through "Be The Match, aka The National Marrow Donor Program. If you are between the ages of 45-60 you would need to register online only by ordering a test kit from this link:

Order a test kit online:

Locate a live drive where you live:

Your stem cells can even be flown to Baylor if you live outside the U.S. in a country that is part of the International Cooperative Registry:

If you live outside of the Unite States and your country isn't part of the International Cooperative Registry you can still help other patients where you live through the following programs: http://marrowdrives.org/bone_marrow_donor_programs.html

Please join. Join to help Baylor and the thousands of other patients waiting and hoping to find their life-saving matches in time.

ETA: Author Michael Lewis just published a video with Baylor. Please watch it and read more about the drive to help Baylor:

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