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Title
CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA DONOR DRIVE ENCOURAGES LOCAL CITIZENS TO “BE THE MATCH” FOR BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTS
Date
06/12/2012
Description

HOOVER (Feb. 6, 2012) – The Children’s of Alabama 2012 Call to Caring Blood and Bone Marrow Registry Drive will take place Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. on the first floor of the food court at the Riverchase Galleria (2000 Riverchase Galleria Drive.)

Children’s is joined by event partners UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, The American Red Cross, Walgreens 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.

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, 20 to 25 youngsters 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. The number of registered donors from diverse racial and ethnic heritage is especially low, although the need is high. The Call to Caring 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.”

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 name is added to the registry as a potential donor match for a patient anywhere in the U.S. More information about the process is available at marrow.org.

Children’s of Alabama is the 10th busiest pediatric medical center in the United States and home to the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. Here, 95 percent of the children in Alabama diagnosed with cancer are treated, making it the single largest provider of specialized pediatric services for all forms of cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and sickle cell diseases in the state. Children’s is also home to the Lowder Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, the only pediatric bone marrow transplant program in the state. The cancer program is ranked among the Top 50 in the nation by US News & World Report. For more information, visit www.childrensal.org.