Being the Match
Forward by News & Views Staff: According to studies, more than 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with a serious blood disease each year. New leukemia cases number about 44,000 a year with fatality rates in adults reaching fifty percent. Leukemia is also the most common childhood cancer.
Treatment for blood diseases often relies on finding a compatible bone marrow donor for a transplant. Each day there are about 7500 patients actively seeking an eligible donor on the National Registry. Only 30% of blood relatives are perfect matches for bone marrow transplants. Although studies show that donating bone marrow has resulted in no fatalities, only 2% of eligible Americans are registered as potential donors.
Chapel Hill News and Views received Mandie Newsom’s story through Facebook. We’re happy to share it here.
Being the Match - My Story
By Mandie Newsome
In April of 2011 I registered with the online bone marrow donor registry, Be the Match, in Mississippi, with hopes of matching for a toddler with leukemia. Honestly, I completely forgot that I remained on the donor list. We relocated back to my home state of Georgia in 2013, so all of my contact information, except for my email, changed.
In November of 2016 I was contacted by Be the Match and told that I had been found to be a potential match for a 40 year old man with blood cancer and they asked if I would consider moving forward with additional testing to see if I was a complete match. Fast forward seven months and a lot of blood work later, it was determined that I was a 100% match for this stranger.
My records were turned over to the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and in mid-September I flew to Washington, DC, where I underwent surgery and donated bone marrow. The procedure was done under full anesthesia and the marrow was removed from my lower hip area called the iliac crest. Recovery time took just a couple of days, and I will continue to take iron for a few weeks until my bone marrow regenerates.
Many people don’t realize that most of the time bone marrow is able to be donated through a non-surgical procedure called PBSC. The donor is awake the whole time and able to watch movies or listen to music as stem cells are collected.
This has been a truly humbling experience for me knowing that God has allowed me to be a small part of a miracle that was in the works for this man six years ago when I placed myself on the registry. I would like for everyone to consider being put on the registry for bone marrow donation. There is a less than 30% chance that a patient will match with a relative, so anonymous donors are crucial to those fighting any type of blood cancer. To get your swab kit and join the bone marrow registry, go to www.bethematch.org and complete a basic health questionnaire. Be the Match will mail a kit to you, and all you have to do is swab your cheek and return the kit.