Thursday, February 25, 2010

Please consider joining the Bone Marrow Registry

About a year and a half ago, I wrote about the need for more people, especially ethnic and racial minorities, to join the National Bone Marrow registry.

Now, I'm once again making a personal appeal to all people, but especially to those of you who are of Asian ancestry and even more especially of Chinese heritage to join. Two weeks ago, my aunt "T" was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She just discovered that she will need a bone marrow transplant. My family members are all being typed as we speak, but in the event that none of us are a match, it's important that they find someone in the national bone marrow registry.

Ethnic and racial minorities are very underrepresented in the national registry--so if you identify as an ethnic/racial minority and are interested in joining, you can go to this link for the Asian American Donor Program and request a kit. Anyone of partial ethnic or racial minority status will have their kit provided to them free of charge. Normally it is about $100 for a kit--the money used to offset the cost of processing the cheek swabs.

I know in this day and age we talk about race being a myth, a social construction and we talk about how genetic variance within a racial group is greater than between races--that there is no link between genes and race. But I think when it comes to matching for something like bone marrow, what does matter very much is family. The family link in terms of genes and bone marrow and blood typing. This is why siblings are always a better match for someone than a spouse or parent or child. My aunt's siblings (including my father) are all waiting for their results, and I'm truly hoping one of them is a match. But if that doesn't happen, the next best thing would be to find someone of Chinese ethnicity who perhaps comes from the same region/family group as my family (Szechuan province, although my grandmother grew up in Shanghai).

The process to be a donor is really very simple. It takes 5-10 minutes to watch the video on the donor website, about 5-10 minutes to fill out the paperwork, and 5 minutes to do the cotton swabs to your cheeks. The postage is paid for--you return the swabs and the forms and then you wait to see if you are a match.

If you'd like more information on bone marrow donation, you can go to the National Marrow Donor Program.

Please consider doing it today--it may just save someone's life, like my aunt.


modest-goddess said...

I'm black and I'm registering now.

modest-goddess said...

crap, I had back surgery for Scoliosis so I am not allowed to donate.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for thinking of joining the registry--the thought really does count--and I am sorry you had to have back surgery--that can be SO PAINFUL--UGH. Hope you are well healed.