Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Winning the Lottery

I was so moved after reading the comments on Paula's "Platelets Behaving Badly" post. You are just like me in that you have a need to take ACTION. I was awake into the wee hours because I was developing a plan to mobilize the Southern Cal. Hapa (half Asian, half Caucasian) community. Then I realized that I'm jumping ahead of myself. (I still hope that my platelets will be fruitful and multiply.)

The chances that any of my friends would be a match for me are pretty slim, but the odds that any of you could be a match to another "friend in need" are less staggering. Every day, thousands of patients are searching for a donor.

Several of the donors on the Asians for Miracle Marrow Match website described finding out that they were a life-saving match felt like "winning the lottery." Let me ask you this: If you could choose between cashing in on a million dollars in the California Lottery or saving a life, which would you choose? (Luckily, it's not an "either or" proposition - you can buy lottery tickets AND register as a possible donor.)

As Paula mentioned, the process is as simple as swiping a swab in the inner cheek. And you don't even have to leave home to do it. You can sign up online with the National Bone Marrow Program Registry and they'll send you the tissue-typing kit for a $52 donation.

If you'd prefer to do it in person, there are many opportunities in Southern California, including these. If you're not in Southern California, search the NBMP website for a drive near you. The Asians for Miracle Marrow Match also hosts ongoing opportunities throughout the Southland. (And, no, they won't turn you away if you're not Asian.)

If you are a match, the process of donating stem cells is surprisingly simple - a little like donating platelets. One IV takes out the blood, the stem cells are extracted and then the blood (sans stem cells) is pumped back in through another IV. To find out more, check out the FAQ on the National Bone Marrow Program webwsite.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Wow. I didn't know the donation process was that simple. I imagined them extracting bone marrow from your bones, with a large syringe. Compared to that, IV lines are nothing! I'll definitely get swabbed now!