Finding a match: Why bone marrow donors are so important

Jake and his mom.

Jake and his mom

Are you a donor? I am. I regularly donate blood, and I’m proud to show off the orange sticker on my driver’s license that says I’m willing to be an organ donor. But there’s another way you can donate life to someone in need. You also can be a bone marrow donor.

Bone marrow transplants aren’t just for cancer, they’re for a whole group of people with non-cancerous diseases. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a little guy from San Francisco who personally knows how important bone marrow donors really are. Jake is 5 years old, and he’s been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder where the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells. To put it simply, this can cause a lot of health problems.

Jake needs a bone marrow transplant. His family came here because at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we’re experts. We did our first bone marrow transplant in 1980, and we’ve done more than 1,000 since. You might have seen Jake’s story on Good Morning America today.

In 2011, nearly 14,000 searches were done through the National Marrow Donor Program. More than 5,500 patients went on to receive a transplant. Did you know younger bone marrow donors, particularly those with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds, are especially needed? Jake’s family is Irish, so they’ve put the word out far beyond U. S. borders to find his match.

Every person who joins the bone marrow registry gives patients hope. About 70 percent of patients don’t have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a donor.

Do it. Sign up today. You could be a match for a kid like Jake.

David Margolis, MD~ David Margolis, MD, program director, Bone Marrow Transplant, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Dr. Margolis leads the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Children’s is a pioneer in pediatric bone marrow transplantation, and the program is one of the largest in the U.S. utilizing unrelated individuals or mismatched family members as donors. The team focuses on translational research to provide a solid foundation for the most advanced care.

Comments

Finding a match: Why bone marrow donors are so important — 5 Comments

  1. Dear David Margolis M.D., 6/26/12
    I watched GMA today and saw the story about Jake needing a bone marrow transplant. I am a US citizen, Irish, and I have a feeling that I am a perfect match for Jake. My family lives in County Roscommon, Ireland (Athlone). I am not a registered bone marrow donor as of yet, but I am going to register today. Please contact me regarding this matter@the above e-mail address.
    Sincerely,
    Ann Marie

  2. I saw the wonderful story about donating Bone Morrow on Good Morning America. As a mother who had a child at Children’s, I couldn’t get this off my mind all day. Sadly, I went to register at Be The Match and was prompted to pay a $100 registration fee…is there any other way to get on the registry and donate without paying the costs. I simply can’t afford the money but hate to think that will stop me from this process…

  3. Thank-you for the information. With how big of a demand there seems to be for more donors I guess I didn’t consider the costs of the process. Financially it’s an obstacle at the moment…however as soon as I have some extra money, I will still gladly sign up!! :)