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Children's of Alabama Donor Drive Encourages Local Citizens to "Be The Match" and Join the Team for Bone Marrow Transplants

BIRMINGHAM (Aug. 13, 2014) – The 2014 Committed to a Cure Blood and Bone Marrow Registry Drive will take place Tuesday, Aug. 26 and Wednesday, Aug. 27, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Bradley Lecture Center at Children’s of Alabama (1600 6th Ave. S., Birmingham). Complimentary parking is available in the Children’s 5th Ave. parking deck (1600 5th Ave. S.).

The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama, The American Red Cross and Be the Match bone marrow donor registry in this regional effort to add names to the national registry of those willing to donate bone marrow. Blood donations are also needed. This year’s event has a football focus and participants are encouraged to wear their team colors to show their commitment to the cure.

Bone marrow transplants are used as life-saving treatment for deadly cancers and blood disorders including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease. At Children’s, 25 to 30 young patients require this life-saving procedure every year. But sadly, the number of children who need a bone marrow transplant far exceeds the number of prospective donors and patients who undergo the process of having a bone marrow transplant require multiple blood and platelet transfusions. The number of registered donors from diverse racial and ethnic heritage is especially low, although the need is high. The Committed to a Cure Blood and Bone Marrow Registry Drive seeks to increase the size of the entire marrow donor pool worldwide.

“When a patient does not have a sibling who is a suitable match for transplant, we must turn to the registry to find a donor,” explained Children’s Transplant Nurse Coordinator Melissa Gibson Wallace, BSN, RN. “We rely on the generosity of total strangers, who have at some point decided to join the registry, to be donors. Matches among people of the same race and/or ethnicity are more likely, so we need as many people as possible to join the registry to increase the pool of suitable donors for the patients needing this life-saving procedure.”

“The Red Cross is grateful for those who step up to give this lifesaving gift. We are reminding eligible donors that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve,” said Alicia Anger, External Communications Manager at Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region. “Every time a volunteer donates, they leave knowing they are having a direct impact on the recovery of a child. One blood donation gives these children a better chance at a healthy life.”

Joining the registry is quick, easy and painless. Prospective donors need only complete the necessary paperwork and conduct a simple mouth swab. Upon completion, the individual’s information is added to the registry as a potential donor match for a patient anywhere in the world. More information about the process is available at

Children’s of Alabama is the 10th busiest pediatric medical center in the United States. The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's of Alabama is the state's only comprehensive center for pediatric cancer and other blood disorders, treating 90 percent of all such patients diagnosed in Alabama. Specialized pediatric services exist for all forms of childhood cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and sickle cell diseases in the state. The center is a partnership between Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. The ACCCBD is home to the only pediatric programs in blood and marrow transplantation, childhood cancer survivorship, developmental cancer therapeutics, pediatric neuro-oncology, pediatric hemophilia and sickle cell disease in the state of Alabama. The cancer program is ranked among the best in the nation by US News & World Report. More information is available at, or