The black community is hurting right now – and in more ways than one.
I was recently introduced to Be the Match Atlanta, a national registry that matches patients with bone marrow donors.
Be the Match helps patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases such as sickle cell. 70% of these patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family and depend on Be The Match to find a donor.
- The Be The Match Registry® is the world’s largest and most diverse donor registry. We have more than 22 million potential blood stem cell donors and more than 300,000 cord blood units on the Be The Match Registry. Our organization provides patients with access to more than 35 million potential donors and more than 783,000 umbilical cord blood units on U.S. and global registries.
- Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. SOURCE: Seer.
- Seventy percent of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family. They depend on Be The Match to find an unrelated donor.
- Be The Match facilitates more blood stem cell transplants every year, including 6,553 transplants in 2019, for a total of more than 100,000 transplants since 1987.
The public can join the Be The Match Registry online at BeTheMatchATL.org. To join, you need to meet age and health guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need. Registration involves completing a health history form and giving a swab of cheek cells.
More young people of diverse racial and ethnic heritage are needed now to help patients searching for a match. People between the ages of 18 and 44 are most urgently needed since they are requested by transplant doctors more than 86 percent of the time, and research shows that these donors provide the greatest chance for transplant success.
Although Be the Match is dedicated to providing all patients and equal chance at finding a match regardless of racial or ethnic background, they’ve found that racial disparities DO exist.
White patients have a 77% match of finding a donor while Black patients have a 23% match. When I found out that only 4% of the registry is comprised of Black donors, my jaw dropped. That’s 4% of 22 million potential donors.
We can change that.
The first step is to take action. All week long, in honor of Cheek Week, I’ll be sharing additional resources and information on my Instagram and my blog to educate and hopefully inspire a few of you to join the registry. In the meantime, here are a few ways you can get started:
Option 1. Visit join.bethematch.org/LaurenElyce
Option 2: Text LaurenElyce to 61474
This post was written in collaboration with Be The Match. All thoughts & opinions are my own.