It’s a time to honor and remember children and families affected by cancer, and help rally support to give kids with cancer better outcomes by supporting ground-breaking research.
Nicolas is my best friend’s son, a leukemia survivor through a miraculous bone marrow donation. I honor Nicolas , his family, and his donor, and thank God often that Nicolas is now a healthy 9 year old.
This month I’m challenging my Facebook friends to change their profile picture to the icon above to support children battling cancer, or donate 50.00 dollars in support of my neighbor’s daughter Katie to PEDIATRIC cancer research directly to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Katie is 14 years old and battling GanglioNeuroblastoma.
Do you know a child that is battling or survived cancer? Honor them this month!
Two years ago Nicholas underwent a Bone Marrow transplant to help cure him of leukemia. Thanks to Clifton, Nicholas is now a healthy 7-year-old boy who enjoys music, tennis, soccer and golf. Nicholas got to meet Clifton a few weeks ago for the first time. This is no ordinary friendship. People of color have a 66% chance of finding a bone marrow match. Because the human leukocyte antigens (HLA) used for determining a match are linked to ethnicity, patients are most likely to find a match within their own ethnic group. In a database of 16 million donors, Clifton was a 100% match for Nicholas. The match and the relationship are truly a miracle.
Bone marrow transplants help cure some 60 different illnesses including forms of leukemia, lymphoma, blood cancers. About 30 percent of the people who need marrow transplants have a relative, usually a brother or sister, who can donate. Only 30 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant have a matching donor in their families. The remaining 70% of patients depend on finding an unrelated person with similar marrow. Unfortunately, the number of available donors in non-white ethnic groups is considerably smaller than in white ethnic groups. To improve the chance of finding a match for everyone, it is vitally important that registries include donors from all possible ethnic groups.
Here are some things I bet you didn’t know about being a bone marrow donor:
Leukemia kills more children every year than any other cancer.
To register as a bone marrow donor, a person swabs the inside of his or her cheek in order to provide the DNA needed to identify if he or she is a bone marrow match for someone.
6 out of 10 patients never receive the unrelated transplant (a transplant from a non-family member) that they need
Only 2 percent of population is on the national registry.
If an African-American finds a match on the registry, there is an 80 percent chance that the identified donor is the only match on the registry.
Donating bone marrow can occur in one of two ways: 1) Blood is taken out of a donor’s arm. That blood is put in a machine, and stem cells are separated and the blood is returned through the other arm. 2) A donor has marrow cells extracted from the hip bone. A doctor will determine which donation process is necessary.
A patient’s likelihood of finding a donor that will give them bone marrow ranges from 66%-93%, depending on race or ethnicity. The likelihood of finding a donor is estimated at:
66% for African-American patients
72% for Hispanic or Latino patients
73% for Asian and Pacific Islander patients
82% for American Indian and Alaska Native patients
93% for White patients
After donation, bone marrow replaces itself within four to six weeks.
To be a bone marrow donor in America, a person should be between 18 and 60 years old and in good health.
Donors giving from their hip bones are put under anesthesia, and therefore they do not feel pain during the collection procedure.
At least 1,000 people die each year because they cannot find a matching donor.
I signed up to be a bone marrow donor 2 years ago. Every person who joins the registry gives patients more hope of finding the match they need. Do your part to save a life. Sign-up to be a bone marrow donor today!