Thursday, September 25, 2008

Completed and mailed

I'm kind of surprised how easy it was.

Remember earlier in the month when I couldn't get something out of my mind? I requested a mail-in kit from Michelle's site. And I've done it. I've sent in my information to get on the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry.Yes. I plan on donating blood cells or bone marrow to anyone who matches up my genetic make-up.

It turns out about 70% of the time, donations are through the withdrawal of blood at a apheresis center. When a match is made, a donor takes a daily injection of filgrastism starting 5 days before the blood is taken. The filgratism is taken to increase the number of blood-forming cells in a donor's bloodstream. The donor's blood is passed through a machine that separates the blood-forming cells, which are what the patient receives. It's kind of like the process for donating plasma. The other 30% of the time, a bone marrow donation is needed. Yes. It's actually a surgical procedure. Doctors take hollow needles and take liquid marrow from the back of a donor's pelvic bones.

I can't help but feel the need to be on the registry. There is such a need. I couldn't ignore it. In August 2007, there were 6,745,950 donors on the registry. A further analysis of the donors found 37,336 Filipinos registered -- that's 0.7% of the entire registry! Only a drop in the bucket. There were 391,128 Hispanic donors (7.1%) and 511,622 African-American donors (9.4%) -- a much more plentiful pool of donors. It's only when you add up all the Asian/Pacific Islanders that you get up to 455,494 donors in all -- 8.5% of the registry.

Since I requested my mail-in packet, something happened. One of Michelle's friends, Khanh, lost his own battle with cancer. In just the 3 weeks since I found Michelle's site, her friend died. It's amazing how quickly this happened.

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