Be The Match: The National Marrow Donor Program

Be The Match: The National Marrow Donor Program – How to Donate Bone Marrow. My good friend Jennifer Leal is local mother of two who’s fighting cancer for the second time has made it her mission to spread awareness of the bone marrow and stem cell donation registry. She’s putting her heart out there and doing everything she can to spread the word. She allowed me to interview her about How to Donate Bone Marrow and I was so honored she let me ask her questions.

How to Donate Bone Marrow

For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Over the past 30 years Be The Match ® , operated by the National Marrow Donor Program ®  (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. We work every day to save lives through transplant. Be The Match® is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation. We conduct research to improve transplant outcomes provide support and resources for patients, and partner with a global network.

How to Donate Bone Marrow – About Be The Match

How to Donate Bone Marrow – Q&A with Jennifer Leal

1) Tell me how you’re doing right now? I am doing great. I mean, the leukemia did relapse, which I was certain would not happen, but after one round of strong chemotherapy, I am in remission and preparing for the stem cell transplant. I am enjoying all the household chores, errand running, and mothering tasks that so many of us take for granted.

2) You’re remarkable… going thru what you are, but at the same time being a voice of awareness. Why is this so important to you? For a day or so after the lapse was confirmed, I spent many hours lying on the couch while the kids were at school, and alternated between feeling numb and crying. During this time, I also shared the relapse news with my friends, family, and on Facebook. Many of them asked ‘How do you find a donor?’ or ‘How do you get the cells?’, and that is when I realized that many people were not aware of the donor registry, and that this is my purpose during this health challenge. Whether it be through Facebook lives, blog posts (https://www.savoringthethyme.com/), newspaper articles, or word of mouth, I want to educate and inspire people to register to be a stem cell/bone marrow donor.

3) Can you share some information about Be The Match? Yes, Be The Match is the National Donor Registry. When a person is identified as needing either a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant, the medical facility contacts Be The Match to see if there are any matches in the database. Too often, there is no match, and the person who is ill often does not survive the disease. Be The Match is an amazing organization: they not only maintain the database, and match donors, they work with donors to reimburse them for non-medical costs (medical costs are covered by the recipient), including lost wages. The process to get registered is simple. You register, answer a few questions to be sure you are eligible, and if so, you are sent a cheek swab kit, and once returned, you are in the database within 4-6 weeks. They have great information about the donation process (https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/) that I encourage potential donors to read so they are aware of what is required of them should they ‘be called to service’.

4) Why is it so crucial for people to be informed? I truly believe our main purpose in life is to be kind and help others. So many of us are aware of donating blood, and being organ donors (which are very important too), but are not aware of the bone marrow/stem cell registry. Being in this registry is another way to save someone’s life – Can you believe that we each have that power?!

5) What drives you to keep being so positive and uplifting? I want to show my children that challenges, no matter how big and scary, are to be faced head-on, and to never lose faith, even when there are setbacks. There is no obstacle too big to overcome. I also believe that what we put out into the Universe, comes back to us. If I put out negativity and loss of hope, than I will not attract healing and health. I trust that God is restoring me into health, and that I will see my children grow in adults, accomplish their dreams, and that I will grow old with my husband.

How to Donate Bone Marrow - About Be The Match

How to Donate Bone Marrow – About Be The Match

Please do what you can. Please take a moment. Please spread the word.

 

 

Be The Match: The National Marrow Donor Program was last modified: January 23rd, 2019 by Audrey McClelland
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