Blood and marrow registration drive Sept. 11 at Allen Chapel
From press release
Saturday, Sept. 11, the Rock River Valley Blood Center’s (RRVBC) Be The Match Marrow Program, along with 6-year-old Malik and his mom La’Keshia Rainey, will host a blood and marrow registration drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Allen Chapel, 3000 Rural St., Rockford.
In honor of Sickle Cell Awareness Month, community members are urged to stop by Allen Chapel, donate blood and join the Be The Match Marrow Registry.
Malik is one of an estimated 70,000 Americans with sickle-cell disease, which primarily affects African-Americans and Hispanics. Children with sickle cell anemia (disease) are treated with blood transfusions, antibiotics, pain-relieving medications, other medications and possibly surgery. For those with severe sickle cell anemia (disease), a marrow cell transplant offers the only potential cure, but ONLY if there is a matching donor available. Few people have a suitable matching donor for transplant. More than 70 percent of patients in need will depend on an unrelated donor, someone like you who has joined the Be The Match Marrow Registry in hopes of matching a patient like Malik.
African-Americans especially are facing a big challenge. The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients like Malik are most likely to find a match within their own racial and ethnic community. Although there are 8 million people on the Be The Match Registry, only 600,000—or 7 percent are African-American. More people of African descent are urgently needed on the marrow registry so Malik and patients like him can be saved.
Margaret Shannon, Be The Match marrow registry recruiter at RRVBC, said: “Each year, 10,000 U.S. patients are searching for a life-saving donor. The sad fact is, today, only four out of every 10 patients will receive the transplant that could save their lives. We need to get many more people on our marrow registry so that these patients have a chance to survive their disease. Community help is critical to the patients like Malik. To join our Be The Match marrow registry, one simply completes a registration and consent form and then swabs the inside of their cheeks. It is so easy.”
You may have heard marrow donation is painful. Nowadays, marrow cells are usually collected from the donor’s circulating blood. Don’t be afraid to help because of what you’ve heard. Learn the facts at rrvbc.org.
For more information about Malik’s drive Saturday, Sept. 11, or ways in which you can help save a life, click http://www.bethematchfoundation.org\goto\sicklecell or contact Margaret Shannon at (815) 761-7395. To make an appointment to donate blood, call (815) 965-8751.
As an NMDP Center, the RRVBC established its donor program in 1990 and proudly serves as a Be The Match Marrow Registry Recruitment Center, Donor Center and Apheresis Center. RRVBC is responsible for serving communities in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and beyond, reaching out to provide education, support, donor drives, registration, search activities, follow-up and collection/transport of products related to peripheral blood stem cell/marrow cells.
RRVBC’s Be The Match Marrow Program primary service area falls within a 150-mile radius of Rockford, thus allowing an optimum level of service to potential volunteer donors in the community from the time of recruitment throughout subsequent donor management and collection activities.
RRVBC serves as a centralized, community blood center and is the sole provider of blood products and services to Beloit Memorial Hospital, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, FHN, Mercy Harvard Hospital, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rochelle Community Hospital, Rockford Health System, SwedishAmerican Health System and SwedishAmerican Medical Center—Belvidere. For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, call toll-free at 877-RRVBC-99 or find RRVBC on the web at rrvbc.org.
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