Give All Patients an Equal Chance to Live: Diversify National Stem Cell Donor Registry
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Give Every Patient an Equal Chance to Live
If you needed a stem cell donor to treat your child for a life-threatening illness and you could not find a stem cell or bone marrow donor because of your skin color, how could you have peace? Where is the justice and equality in that?
Stem Cell Transplants and Bone Marrow Transplants Save Lives
Blood cancers and other life-threatening blood disorders can be CURED by stem cell transplants and bone marrow donor transplants. Surviving these deadly diseases should not be a matter of ethnicity and luck.
The racial disparities in the national Be the Match donor registry and donor registries worldwide are staggering and must finally end.
We need a national program to increase stem cell/bone marrow donor registrations linked to voter registrations as well as driver license and motor vehicle registrations and renewals. Americans are given the option to become organ donors when applying for and renewing their driver license and we need to do the same for stem cell and bone marrow donor registrations.
Similarly, as we swab people to test for COVID-19, we can make available the option for cheek swabs or at least a handout to register to be a stem cell or bone marrow donor.
Additionally, we need to establish a unified informed consent program throughout the United States whereby all pregnant women are given the option of banking their babies' umbilical cord blood. As it stands right now, an overwhelming majority of expectant mothers and parents are unaware of this option and cord blood all too often ends up as medical waste. In California, SB112 was passed into law to ensure that women are informed of their breast biopsy and breast cancer treatment options. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/93-94/bill/sen/sb_0101-0150/sb_112_bill_931001_chaptered
We have long-standing precedence for these life-saving initiatives.
* Thousands of people diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening diseases need a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant in order to live.
Race and Ethnicity Matter
Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. Adding more bone marrow and umbilical cord donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the Be The Match Registry increases the likelihood that patients will find the match they need.
Ethnic minorities, especially African Americans, are vastly underrepresented in the United States' national Be the Match registry.
Your heritage can make all the difference. If you are from one of the following communities, you are especially encouraged to register as a bone marrow donor or donate umbilical cord blood upon delivery:
Odds of Finding a Match Based on Ethnic Background
Black and African American: 23%
Asian or Pacific Islander: 41%
Hispanic or Latino: 46%
American Indian and Alaska Native: 57%
* Source: Asian American Donor Program; https://www.aadp.org/learn/need-for-donors/
Text 2CURE to 61474 or visit http://aadp.org/homekit/ to register to be a donor. Registration costs are covered by a grant for those between ages 18-44.
Please register to potentially save a life, share widely and encourage others to do the same!
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