Are you registered to be a bone marrow donor? There are thousands of people around the world looking for bone marrow donors who can potentially save a life. Bone marrow can be used to treat patients with leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, immune deficiency disorders and some solid tumors such as breast and ovarian cancer. Basically, bone marrow produces blood cells. If you have, say, leukemia, your blood is being flooded with immature, crappy blood cells instead of the sophisticated and refined blood cells you need. Normally people with blood cancers undergo intense chemotherapy that kills almost all of their blood cells, and then they undergo a bone marrow transplant. Donor bone marrow teaches the existing marrow how to put out non-defective cells, and, at least in theory, everyone goes home happy. Of course, there are all kinds of ways things can go wrong, but about 70% of people who need bone marrow transplants don’t even get to that stage, because they can’t find a matching donor.
Becoming registered as a bone marrow donor is incredibly easy. You fill out some forms (usually just 2-3 pages of very basic medical history and contact information) and then rub a Q-tip inside your cheek. That’s it. If you are matched up with someone you’ll get a call, and then you’ll be given a choice if you want to donate.
It used to be that donating bone marrow was an incredibly painful procedure. You could save a life, but boy would it hurt. But now, there’s a new device that’s helping doctors to make donating bone marrow so easy it can be done with a local anesthetic as an outpatient procedure. Watch the video below to learn about this fantastic new innovation.