A Be the Match marrow donor registry event will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Washington Fire Department Headquarters, 200 E. 14th St., Washington.
The drive is in honor of Carter Faust of O’Fallon, Ill., grandson of Diane Holtmeier, Washington, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) just days before Christmas in 2009.
There is no cost to join the registry at this event, but donations will be accepted to offset the $100 cost to tissue type each person.
Carter’s brother and numerous relatives have been tested to see if anyone is a good marrow donor match for him, but none are.
Only 30 percent of the time are siblings are ever a good match, said Denise Mosley, an account executive with Be The Match Registry which will conduct the registry event here Sept. 6. That’s what makes it so important to register as many people as possible.
“Thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, severe sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases need an unrelated marrow donor transplant . . .They depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match and to get a second chance at life,” said Mosley.
“Many patients do find the life-saving match they need, but more support is needed to be able to help all patients. Even with a registry of over 10 million, there are patients waiting and hoping, unable to find a match.”
Minority registrants are even more crucial since marrow matches are based, in part, on race and ethnicity, as well as HLA typing or DNA.
All it takes to join the marrow registry is a cheek swab. In fact, Mosley said it should only take 15 minutes for people attending the Sept. 6 registry event from start to finish.
There will be four stations. At the first, registrants will review the medical guidelines for joining the registry. At the second, they will complete paperwork, filling in details like their driver’s license number, Social Security number and the names and contact information for two people who don’t live with the registrant or with each other.
“This is to help us track you down years later if we need to,” Mosley explained.
There also will be medical questions to answer and more personal information.
At the third station, registrants review the forms to make sure they are completed correctly. And at the fourth and final station, volunteers explain how the registrant should swab their cheek.
Who Can Register as a Donor?
Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 (up until their 60th birthday) who is in good general health can potentially become a volunteer marrow donor, said Mosley, although there are some health conditions that will prevent some people from being added to the registry list.
HIV or risk for HIV;
Hepatitis or risk for hepatitis;
Most forms of heart disease or cancer;
Chronic lung condition;
Diabetes requiring insulin or diabetes-related health issues;
Diseases that affect blood clotting or bleeding;
Recent back surgery or severe ongoing back problems;
Autoimmune/neurological disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis;
Being an organ or marrow transplant recipient;
Being significantly obese (there is a maximum height-to-weight ratio for potential donors); and
Current sleep apnea.
Above everything a person must consider before joining the registry, however, is their commitment to being ready to donate if the call comes in that they are a match.
“The worst thing that can happen is you join out of guilt or without having a clear decision,” said Mosley, because if you change your mind or refuse to donate if and when the time comes, that is devastating for the family of the person waiting for a match.
“When you get the call, we want you to be committed to helping anyone in need.”
Financial donations also are being collected in Carter’s name. Visit http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/Carter.Faust or bring them to the registry event.