One of the rowers in our Club has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and he needs a stem cell transplant.
In the "Kidney Community," we are well aware of kidney transplants. My husband, Steve, received a living donor kidney from his benevolent niece, Teresa Duffin. Because of a host of reasons, Steve's transplant didn't work, and he is eyeing his friends with type A or O blood to help him try again.
Stem cell and bone marrow transplants are needed for the treatment of leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. Here's what I learned about the simple screening process for stem cell and bone marrow transplantation:
- Go to your area Blood Bank for screening (In Seattle, access the Puget Sound Blood Center by calling 1-800-366-2831x1897, or log on to www.marrow.org).
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 60 to donate.
- You fill out a simple medical history questionnaire.
- Then, you collect your own sample of cells from the buccal (pronounced "buckle") mucosa--the inside of your cheek. You simply swab four designated areas. No needles, and no pain!
- Your sample is sent to a National Registry Laboratory, and you will be notified if your HLA (tissue) typing matches a patient awaiting a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
- Testing does not obligate you to go through with a donation.
- There is no fee for testing or donating stem cells or bone marrow.
I hope others will join me in taking the twenty minutes it took to get screened and registered.
Maybe we can help the LWRC rower. Take care, Linda Gromko, MD