Adrian Sutherland

Registering As A Bone Marrow Donor Is Easy

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Gift of LifeMost of us know how to give blood, but how does one become a bone marrow donor? The process is simple. After filling out a form on giftoflife.org and upon acceptance, a swab kit — to administer a swab of the inside of your cheek — will be sent to you, which you then mail back. Samples are tissue typed and entered into a registry.

Gift of Life’s mission is to facilitate bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses through the recruitment and registration of prospective unrelated donors.

“One in 1,000 of the donors in Gift of Life’s registry are called to donate for a patient in need each year,” it reads on the web site. “Approximately 25 percent of the requests received from transplant centers are for bone marrow; 75 percent are for peripheral blood stem cells.”

To register through the web site, one first needs to confirm some donor guidelines, including age, health and medical guidelines, and that you reside in Canada or America. It also asks for your commitment. “I am willing to donate to any patient in need,” it states. “I understand that while donation is purely voluntary, the registry is counting on me should I be called as a match someday. Withdrawal at that time would give false hopes to the patient(s) in urgent need.”

Note, there is a fee of $54 to register. “This covers the cost of my tissue typing test performed at the laboratory and the supplies ONLY. Gift of Life sponsors all other expenses, including shipping,” it states.

“The personal information collected on the application […] will be used to contact you in the event you are a potential match with a patient needing a transplant,” it reads. “There is a one in 100 chance that you will receive such a call from our office. Your personal information is made available only to Gift of Life’s donor center staff. You will be identified to transplant centers and laboratories by proprietary identification number only.”

The site is dense with information. There is a basic description of the donation procedures for both bone marrow and blood stem cells. There is even a video on the donation process.

Go to www.giftoflife.org

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