Have you ever wondered what you could do to make a difference in the world? Well, there's a solution to your problem. Be The Match.
Last Wednesday, Marc Silver, Senior Community Engagement Representative of Be The Match, visited Dr. Bowen's Communication Ethics class. I just so happen to be in this class and was extremely curious as to what he was saying about this organization.
Be The Match is a non-profit organization whose goal is to find people who are a perfect match for someone who needs a bone marrow transplant. Silver's goal is to recruit 3,300 people each year, but he always recruits more than this.
Each year, Be The Match finds roughly 6800 matches for people who need a transplant. I know what you're thinking. Is it painful? The answer is no. Silver, in a phone call interview last Thursday, said most people believe it to be painful because of television. He gave specific examples, such as "Seven Pounds" and "House".
The bone marrow transplant is simple. There are two ways to take out bone marrow (T cells). The first way is Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC). This is basically like having your blood drawn, except they spin the the white and red blood cells, and inject them back in your body. The only thing they are taking out are T cells. They give you medicine to produce the T cells faster, therefore it's not harmful to you. More than 80% of bone marrow transplants are done this way.
The other way to donate bone marrow is through surgery. They go in and take bone marrow from your hip. While this is more painful than the PBSC, it's still not as bad as TV makes it out to be.
I asked Silver what his favorite memory of a donor and a patient meeting was, and he replied, "Asking me that is like asking someone who their favorite kid is."
There are currently 14,000 people looking for their perfect match, and over 30 million people in the database to be a donor. Be The Match needs more people to sign up. Why should you sign up? "You could be the one person to save someone's life," Silver said.
Every case is different. You can lengthen someone's life for 20 years or 2, but even so, you've given them a lifetime. All expenses are paid for when you donate, so there's nothing to be worried about when it comes to money.
Silver says that previous donors have told him it was "no big deal" and that they would "do it again in a heartbeat." It's very rare to find a match, so the more people in the system, the better.
To sign up for Be The Match, go to their website at BeTheMatch.org. You'll receive a kit in the mail, where you'll be asked to swab your cheek. You will then send it back in the mail, where they will then put you in their database. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO GET BLOOD DRAWN.
If you are lucky enough to be someone's match, you will get a phone call.
Be The Match has a club here at the University of South Florida. If you are interested in joining, look them up on BullSync.
If you have any questions regarding Be The Match, you can contact Marc Silver at (727) 348-5060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.