PRINCETON – Mark the calendar for the upcoming Be The Match marrow community drive on Saturday hosted by Bureau County Illinois Thrivent Board.
Locations will be set-up 9 a.m. to noon at the Bureau County Metro Center and Zearing Park, both in Princeton.
During the drive, interested participants between the ages of 18 and 44 will be asked to fill out a form and take a cheek swab. The information will be collected and taken back to a Be The Match lab where it will be put into a registry and possibly matched with a person in need of a marrow transplant.
Debra Dalton of the Bureau County Illinois Thrivent Chapter said it costs Be The Match $100 per person to complete DNA matching in the lab, however, “a donor doesn’t have to pay a penny.” Be The Match raises donation funds to supplement all costs.
Donors who are matched will be called back at a later date to set-up arrangements for the donating procedure.
“If you end up having to travel to a center to have the procedure done, Be The Match will pay for all expenses,” Dalton said.
Participants will only be asked to donate marrow if they match a specific patient who needs a transplant. Marrow cells are most often collected from the arm in a procedure like donating plasma, according to Be The Match.
“You’re more likely to match someone from your own ethnic heritage,” Dalton said. “It’s important if you are Hispanic, African American or have mixed heritage to come to the drive … People with multiple heritages are even harder to match.”
According to Be The Match, only 30 percent of patients are able to find a match in their family, which means most patients have to find willing donors on Be The Match registry.
According to Be The Match, a donor’s body will replace its own cells in a few weeks after the donation. During the process of recovery, Dalton said it has been noted that some people tend to feel flu-like symptoms.
Leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases can be cured with a marrow cell transplant if there is a match. Dalton said people should register and donate, because it just may save a life.
“If you know anyone who has gone through a bone marrow transplant, it’s a really big deal. It touches everybody now because of what our medical field now knows. It’s amazing what they can do,” she said.
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