This Saturday on Yom Kippur, 75 Reform Jewish congregations from coast to coast will be hosting bone marrow registration drives. While you may be asking, why is this important? Let me just give you some background because by a swab of the cheek, you could literally save someone's life.
For patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases and genetic disorders, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be their best or only hope for a cure. Yet 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a matching donor in their immediate family, typically a blood sibling is needed. So these individuals depend on services such as Be The Match® and other support services to find a matching donor. Transplantation is not a an easy road of treatment but it certainly can be life saving.
Personally, I do not have a family match and am someone who would need this service if I were to have my blood levels relapse. So while it might not sound fun to have to be a donor, joining the bone marrow registry is very quick and easy and could potentially save someone's life. One caveat is that potential donors needed must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in general good health, with preference for individuals 44 YOA and under. This is based on medical research that shows younger donors are best for patients and provide the greatest chance for transplant success.
If you are interested in joining one of the events mentioned above, check out this webpage with the state-by-state listings. Or if you are not near one of these locations, check out Be The Match® where you can register online and they'll send you a kit or find a marrow drive near you.