For many pediatric cancer patients like Claire who have leukemia or other blood diseases, a bone marrow transplant becomes a critical part of their treatment. While Claire’s doctors hope to continue to rely only on chemotherapy for Claire’s treatments, changes in her condition and the threat of relapse in the months and years to come mean that needing a marrow transplant could become a reality. We do know that she does not have a matching family donor. So should she require a transplant she will have to rely on an unrelated donor and hope that one is available that matches her genetic makeup. In researching her condition and treatment, Megan and Travis learned a lot about the marrow registry and matching process and just how hard it is to find a genetic match. It’s a scary thought for them and it also made them think of all the families currently waiting to find a match.
One thing we were surprised to learn, and suspect many others don’t know, is that no one is tested to find out if they are a match to a specific patient. Anyone who submits their DNA is entered into the registry as a potential donor to anyone in need. The more people who join the registry, the greater the chance of finding a match for a patient.
Join the registry
Visit http://Join.BeTheMatch.org/ClaireStrong to learn more and join the registry. There are a few criteria to join the registry:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 44 (once entered, individuals will stay on the registry until age 61)
- Be willing to donate to anyone in need
- Be in general good health
Less than 1% of people who join the registry will end up donating. The donation process is not painful and you could SAVE A LIFE.
My wife and I have gone through the registration process myself and it could not have been easier. You fill out a few questions online; receive a kit in the mail; rub a couple of swabs on the inside of your cheek and mail them back. That’s it! The first step is visiting http://Join.BeTheMatch.org/ClaireStrong
Spread the word!
Whether or not you are able to register you can still help out by sharing this campaign online encouraging others to register and share. There is a particular need for registry members of diverse backgrounds so the broader the outreach the better. Just share the link http://Join.BeTheMatch.org/ClaireStrong
Thank you for reading this long post and for your continued kindness to Claire and family. We would love to share a little of this energy with other families in similar situations. By using our unique Be The Match link, I’ll be able to update everyone on our campaign success. Thank you.