July 18, 2011
Every day, thousands of patients suffer from illnesses like Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease, Immunodeficiencies, and Sickle Cell Anemia.
Diane has Leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Diane with Judah, one of her three grandchildren
A bone marrow transplant may be their only option for survival.
Although some patients with leukemia or other cancers have a family member who can donate, most do not. Their lives depend on finding an unrelated individual with a compatible tissue type, often within their own ethnic group, who is willing to donate marrow for them.
Unfortunately, 60% of patients do not find a donor who can save their lives.
Brenda Neblecky, a Registered Nurse for Catholic Health's McAuley Seton Home Care, and Linda Anderson, a Nurse's Aide at Mercy Hospital, are hoping to beat those odds. Their sister, Diane, who has three children and is the leader of her church's youth group, has Leukemia and is in need of a life-saving transplant.
To help match compatible donors with those in need of transplants, Brenda and Linda have partnered with DKMS to host a bone marrow drive at two Western New York locations.
The drive will be held on Sunday, July 31, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at:
Knights of Columbus
55 Main St.
South Buffalo Moose Club
2019 South Park Avenue
Participants will swab the inside of their cheeks to collect enough cells to determine their HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) tissue type. The procedure takes only a few minutes.
After a swab is taken, participants are added to the Be The Match RegistrySM and are contacted if they are matched with a patient. While there is usually a $65 fee to register, registration at the July 31 drive is free.
Because patients are most likely to find a compatible donor of similar racial and ethnic backgrounds, a diverse group of potential donors is needed. Only a small percentage of the 8 million volunteer donors who have joined the national Registry are people of color.
Appointments for the event are not required. Just walk in!
Participants must meet the following requirements:
If you match a patient, your commitment to donate is very important, but you have the right to change your mind. However, a late decision to not donate can be life-threatening to a patient.
The majority of donations do not involve surgery. Today, the patient's doctor most often requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical. "People can donate bone marrow like giving blood," says Brenda Neblecky.
Donors typically go home on the same day on which they donate and are back to their normal routines in one to two days.
The more people who are added to the registry, the better the chance of finding a match for Diane and others like her, whose lives depend on a bone marrow transplant.
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