Marrow drive, fund-raiser for Tanene Reed Dec. 12

25-year-old Tanene Reed (right) with her 8-year-old son Cortavius. Photo provided

From press release

Tanene Reed is a 25-year-old African-American woman who was recently diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. She needs a marrow cell transplant.

A marrow donor drive will be held on Tanene’s behalf from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12, at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, 1904 West St., Rockford. A fund-raiser for her family will be held the same day at the church from 4 to 7 p.m.

Tanene is the mother of an 8-year-old son, Cortavius, and her father is pastor at True Vine.

Although it is not yet known whether there is a donor match for Tanene in her family because her diagnosis is so recent, the odds are against it. Only 30 percent of patients have a match in their family, and Tanene’s chances are further reduced because her sister, Tameca, also has cancer. Meantime, her brother is being tested to determine whether he is a match.

Tanene’s chances of finding a match on the Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program’s registry are low because she is African-American. African-Americans have a more complex genetic makeup because of migration patterns throughout the ages and the African diaspora. This, combined with the fact that African-Americans are under-represented on the registry compared to the patient numbers, cause their odds of finding a matching donor lower than other racial and ethnic groups. A person is far more likely to match a person with the same racial and ethnic background.

Many African-Americans are dying because of a lack of a donor. Just four weeks ago, the 11-year-old star of the Broadway performance of the Lion King died without a donor. And on March 24, 2005, Jackie Donahue, sister of hip hop star Nelly, died without a donor.

Joining the Be The Match registry is easy and takes around 10 minutes. To join, you only need to be between the ages of 18 and 60, be willing to donate to any patient in need, and meet the health guidelines. Simply fill out a registration form and rub your cheeks with Q-tips. You will be added to the list of potential heroes, and if you match a patient, you will be contacted with the next steps. Most donations are not surgical, and are like donating plasma or platelets.

For more about the Dec. 12 marrow donor drive and fund-raiser for Tanene Reed, contact event organizer Vivian Ferguson at (815) 670-1909. For more about Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program, visit, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or contact Margaret Shannon at (815) 961-2341, (815) 761-7395 or

From the Dec. 8-14, 2010 issue

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