Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bone Marrow Update: Went for testing

National Marrow Donor Program (USA) How To Help

I just got back from the local clinic, where they took a blood sample to determine if I am a good match for a person in need for a bone marrow transplant.

The process couldn't have been easier or faster. I checked in at 10am - needle in at about 10:05 - needle out about 20 seconds later - I was out of the lab and in my car at about 10:10... No paperwork or forms to fill out...just went straight to Go and right back out the door. I know we have a great local hospital...but 10 minutes?! That's faster than some fast food joints!

So now my blood is being FedEx'd to the lab where they do the HLA/tissue typing (essentially white cell typing).

How are donors and patients matched?
Just as there are many red cell groups, known as blood groups, there are a variety of white cell groups known as tissue types. In the same way as a blood transfusion needs to be matched for a particular blood group, bone marrow transplants need to be matched for their tissue types. The best match is usually found from a family member (brothers and sisters). Unfortunately only one in four patients have such a suitable donor.

Because there are a great number of tissue types, it takes an extremely large register of donors (many thousands) to find an unrelated matched donor for patients.

If I'm not ultimately a match for this person, I hope someone else is.

Anyway, it will likely be six weeks before I can expect to hear anything. As soon as there is any news, I'll be sure to post it here.

In the mean time - perhaps you would consider checking out the ways you can help persons in need of a bone marrow transplant. Check out the National Marrow Donor Program (or organization in your country). They have a number of ways you can help.

Remember - due to the odds against finding an unrelated match - thousands of people need to sign up as potential donors in order for folks in need to have a fighting chance.


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