Founded in 1986, Be The Match has been a crucial addition to the medical and transplant world, helping to match thousands of donors to patients in need of blood and bone marrow donations. At Be The Match, they pride themselves in leading the way in research and continuously growing and promoting the database and community in which they have created. From the time they started, to where they are now, Be The Match has grown their database to include over 22 million potential donors.
But why is it important to donate? Although the database holds the information of 22 million donors, not everyone will be a match to a patient, and may never even be called to donate, so the more registered the donors in the database, the better the chance a patient has of being matched to an individual. Their main goal is collecting donor samples from individuals within the 18 to 44 year old range, and this is because studies have shown that younger donors tend to provide cells that lead to a higher survival rate.
Various patients are in need of bone marrow. Diseases treatable by bone marrow donations are leukemia, lymphoma, severe aplastic anemia, pure red cell aplasia, sickle cell diseases, and so many more.
Many people do not register due to the idea that they may never get called, but on the flip side, what if you are the only one that could be a match for a patient? That is why it is so important for as many people as possible to register.
What is so great about this organization is the ease with which you can sign up to be a donor in the Be The Match donor database. To sign up, simply go to this link and click join online. From there, you will receive a swab kit in the mail. You will complete a cheek swab to collect your DNA and mail it back in to Be The Match. Once received, they will enter your information into their donor registry, and you will potentially be matched with a patient in need of your life saving cells.
If you would rather join in person, you can also find an in person donor registry drive using this link. Although in-person drives are temporarily paused, it is important to frequently check back as to when a drive might be popping up. Until then, however, it is encouraged to do the at-home registry.
-Bri Loughridge, Alexander’s Hope Intern