MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center will host a marrow donor drive for the Be the Match Donor Registry from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 during the WVU Healthcare Expo at Morgantown Mall.
The donor registry table will be located between Garfield’s and JCPenney. The Be the Match Registry is operated by the National Donor Marrow Program, the global leader in providing bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients in need.
“It’s critically important that we host the drive because patients with 73 different diseases, including leukemia and lymphoma, are dying due to a lack of donors,” Londia Goff, transplant coordinator and nurse clinician for the Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program at the Cancer Center, said. “The shortage is greatest for minority donors. I have an 80 percent chance of finding a donor for a patient of European ancestry. For African-Americans, the percentage drops to about 3 percent.”
Potential donors include men and women from 18 to 44 years old. During the registration process, potential donors will be asked several questions about their medical history, medications, travel history and social behaviors. Someone at risk for transmitting blood-borne infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C, will not be eligible to donate. Those determined eligible to be a potential donor will meet with a WVU Healthcare clinician who will collect DNA from their cheek with a swab.
“The Donor Program is seeking younger donors because younger cells engraft better with better outcomes for the recipient. As we age our cells age also,” Goff said. “This is a painless process that enables us to collect cheek cells that will be tested for tissue type, entered into the national registry and then sent to transplant centers looking for donors. If a donor is a potential match, he or she will be called for additional testing.”
She added that it is crucial that the donor respond promptly because high-risk patients are desperately waiting to receive their transplant.
For more information about becoming a bone marrow donor visit bethematch.com or call the Osborn Blood and Marrow Transplant Program office at 304-598-4520 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.