African Americans are more genetically diverse than those of other heritages, so it is more difficult to find a donor match. While the registry has more than 9 million potential donors in this database, only about 7% of these are of African American heritage. Only about 66% of African American patients ever find a donor match. In fact, the database needs more representation from all minorities.
—  Whitney Christy on the need for bone marrow donation

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a bone marrow donor to help one of the 6000 Americans seeking a marrow match to treat their Leukemia, Anemia or other life threatening blood disorders did you know that 70% of the time donors are now asked to give stem cells using a method called PBSC (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell) collection? It’s similar to how plasma is donated. The other 30% are asked to donate marrow from the back of their hip bones under general anesthesia because children in particular experience a higher transplant success rate when receiving marrow instead of PBSC.

To learn more visit Be The Match (aka the National Marrow Donor Program) 


April is National Donate Life Month!

More info on how to join the US bone marrow donor registry here.

I registered ~4 years ago – the swab process is quick, free, painless, done by mail. Now, I wait for a call.

My mother’s friend donated bone marrow a while ago. The recipent was a 16-year old boy from the USA who had leukemia. The donation was his last chance and with the help of the donated marrow he survived.

The rules of the foundation say that the first 2 years after the donation, the name of either the donor and the recipent have to be secret. But my mother’s friend wanted to send a small package for Christmas including lots of German chocolate and marzipan and a letter, telling she’s thankful that she could save a young man’s life and that she’s glad she could help. So she did. And this is the boy’s answer.

“I never wrote before because I was not sure that you would want to hear from me. I was very excited when I received that letter and I loved all the chocolate; especially the coffee-flavoured chocolate.
I could sit here and say thank you over and over, but it could never make up what you have done for me. I feel as if I have my life back again. It’s hard to believe a stranger would do that for someone they don’t know at all. Everything is going about as well as it could, I’m even back to school and playing my favorite sport.
I can read some German, but not write very well. I would love to read it if you wrote a portion or just a note in the next letter.
Wondering if there is anything from the United States you would like to eat. Our chocolate is not as nearly as good.

From: The Patient.”


[Above: An image of marrow donation registry advocate Janet Liang, a gif demonstrating how easy it is to donate stem cells, an image of Janet holding the stem cells from her donor, the logo of the 170 in 7 blog campaign, and an image of two year old leukemia patient Jeremy Kong, who still needs a lifesaving donor match.]

Probably one of the hardest article’s I’ve ever written for–and my apologies for being off topic!  

Janet was an amazing person and a group of Asian American bloggers have rallied together this week to honor her memory through 170 in 7: A Bone Marrow Cyberdrive in Memory of Janet Liang

Janet learned that she had cancer while undergoing a series of routine physicals at UCLA during her senior year. The physical exams were to help her prepare to study abroad in Paris. Instead, Janet found herself enduring brutal chemotherapy regimens while she spearheaded an international search to increase the stem cell and marrow donor registry. Told that the odds of finding a match for a Chinese American patient were 1 in 20,000, Janet and her friends set the goal of registering over 20,000 new potential donors to the Be the Match registry. After over three hundred drives, they surpassed the 20,000 registrant goal. Due to these amazing efforts, Janet and an astounding additional 18 patients were able to find their lifesaving matches.

By this point, you’ve realized that unlike the other articles on, this article is not about how people of color are underrepresented in entertainment media. This article is about my friend and fellow UCLA alumna Janet Liang,one of the bravest and most inspirational women that I have ever known. While we have been advocating for increased representation in film, television, comics, and other entertainment mediums, Janet and other patients in need of a stem cell or marrow transplant have been advocating for increased representation in national and international registries. Her efforts touched thousands of people and even brought greater attention to this issue to the White House.

This article is a reminder that Asian Americans and other people of color as a whole are terribly underrepresented–not only in entertainment media, but also in other vital areas of American society–in this case, a life-saving registry that enables people from all around the country the opportunity to save a life.

All it takes to join the registry is a simple cheek swab. It’s so simple, you can even do it from home and pop it in the mail. The odds of being selected and donating are about 1 in 540. The donation process is often so similar to donating blood platelets, that people have participated in Ask Me Anything sessions on while sitting in the hospital room, waiting for their cells to finish downloading into a lifesaving bag for a patient in need.

Most (but not all) donors share the same race and ethnicity as the transplant recipient. Because people of color are underrepresented in national registries, this means that if you are a patient who is white, and you have leukemia–or any of the other medical conditions that necessitate a stem cell or marrow transplant–your odds of finding a donor match are 93%. In contrast, black patients have a 66% chance of finding a match, Latinos have a 72% chance, Asian Americans have a 73% chance, and American Indians have a 82% chance. These are huge disparities. According to the Mavin Foundation, approximately only 25% of those listed in the donor registry of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) are racial “minorities”, and people of mixed race represent only 2% of that.

You can read the full article at

Please, if you are eligible, consider joining the registry.  (And tweet to #170in7 to let us know if you are doing so as part of the blogathon!)

I got my buccal swab kit in the mail today and it will be dropped in the mail tomorrow.

This is literally all it takes.  Four swabs and each takes about 10 seconds.  Is that really too much to ask?  I just hope that knowing that getting registered is this easy will cause some people to consider joining the registry.



From a student to another student (especially if you’re from UCLA or UCI), find out if you’re a match for marrow donation for this woman. And even if you aren’t a match, continue to save lives, please!

Links can be found on the video description.


#GODOGOOD: BeTheMatch - I have been donating blood since high school, when I was able to use it as an excuse to skip a class.  I have kept it up since then, donating as often as I can, usually 3-4 times a year.  I scheduled my last donation on based on a day and time I was available.  I didn’t realize the blood drive was for a special occasion.

Ryan Waters of Yardley, PA was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012.  He had received a peripheral stem cell transplant in June 2013.  The blood drive in June 2014 was titled “Pay It Forward” and was celebrating his one year anniversary of being cancer-free.  After we got past the fact that I was basically crashing this kid’s blood drive, I learned about his success against leukemia and signed up for Be The Match.

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells.  Bone marrow produces red blood cells.  Therefore, the best way to treat leukemia is to treat the bone marrow.  A donor has healthy stem cells extracted from their bone marrow.  The stem cells are given to the patient and replace damaged or infected bone marrow.  New bone marrow = new blood.  While this used to involve a big needle removing marrow direct from the donor’s hip bone, a new techniques uses injections to coax the stem cells from the donor’s bones and into the blood stream.  The donor then undergoes a simple procedure not unlike a blood donation, and the stem cells are separated from the blood.

The tricky part is finding a suitable donor.  Less than 30% of patients have a matching donor in their family, so doctors need to cast as wide a net as possible to find a suitable tissue match.  Be The Match is the biggest net, with over 10.5 million people on their registry.  Even so, only 1 in 540 members get the call to donate.  Many more are called in as potential matches, but further tissue tests prove them incompatible.  

You can help continue to grow the registry by signing up to be a donor.  Initial testing is literally just a cheek swab.  If you’re still uncomfortable with the procedure, monetary donations are also accepted.  You can get more information at their website:

And while you wait for the call, don’t forget that the Red Cross is always looking for blood donations.  I have donated over 20 times in my life.  It’s really not that bad.  Here is the website for our local chapter:  Message me if you need a buddy to go with you!

- Andrew K.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am. Not rich, but making it, good friends, good family, a nice place to live, being healthy, I’ve got a lot of good. So, when things like this jump into my site line it makes me think, here I have this thing that could really help someone really change their life, so I do it. It may never happen, but if someday I can help someone just by enduring a little discomfort and a little scariness, then I should do that.

anonymous asked:

Can I ask you how come Cosima is all fine now, according to creators it's only been few days apart, how can she have gain strenght and be healthy? is there something she could have done during this short time to make it better? didnt they say they had to wait for another bone marrow at elast a month? Help me what did I miss?


Like honestly okay, last we saw of her she was dead…like she was on the edge, hallucinating Delphine until Kira brought her back. Now how much time has passed here? Like 3 weeks. Not enough time for Kira to be able to donate bone marrow again. And Helena’s fertilized eggs are still at the loft. So like….????????

Honestly this makes no sense to my science brain and it makes me cry

anonymous asked:

so im multiracial (mom is white/middle eastern, dad is native american) and usually in really bad health - health-related genetics dictate that theres a chance bone marrow might be a thing, which is a sucky ride for multiracial individuals (so i've heard), and my dad is ADAMANT that i am all white because i look like grandma would if she had his eyes, even talking to doctors who actually need accurate information about me. how do i get past this? i dont wanna get sicker cuz my dad has hangups.

Bone marrow is a HUGE problem for mixed race people because we NEED someone who matches our racial makeup to donate bone marrow, having our racial identity acknowledged at the doctor’s office can actually be a matter of life and death. Tell your dad this. It is important that he understands how important it is for him to acknowledge that you are not white instead of dismissing your heritage. This is about more than your dad’s racial hang-ups, this is about your health. Good luck anon I hope it all works out for you.

- Melody

also if you are old enough and are able to PLEASE join some sort of bone marrow registry, you could save someone else’s life