Marrow Donor Program seeks matches at UH
UH Collegiate Cancer Council (CCC) and the Marrow Donor Program are seeking potential donors in a three-day bone marrow registry drive that began Monday.
Bone marrow registration centers are set up in the breezeway of Phillip Guthrie Hoffman Hall, the University Center and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
To register as a potential donor, participants will provide the Marrow Program staff with a bio-sample by swabbing the inside of their mouths with a Q-tip. The swab will give the medical information necessary to match a patient in need.
Becky McCullough, director of Houston’s Marrow Donor Program, said there are about 7 million people in the international registry, yet there are still patients without a match.
‘The odds for bone marrow match are very slim; it is much harder than matching organs,’ McCullough said.
The patients who need bone-marrow transplants usually suffer from blood diseases such as leukemia, where the intensity of the drug and radiation treatment kills their marrow and weakens the immune system.
The Marrow Program and the CCC especially need black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian volunteers to register into the potential donor pool.
The National Marrow Donor Program started in 1986 with individual patients’ families around the country searching their communities to find a donor match.
McCullough said people who are interested in the drive should know what it means to be a donor.
‘It is very important to be educated about the different aspects (of registering) and be very sure. It happens a lot that when they call up a donor with a possible match, (the donor) backs out,’ McCullough said. ‘Often they will listen to family and friends who have misconceptions about it – that is horrible and painful.’
There are two procedures used to collect bone marrow. Seventy percent of donations are done through a procedure similar to drawing blood. Donors usually require a day’s recovery at the collection site and recover completely by the next day.
The alternative collection process is done through an outpatient procedure where marrow is collected from the hipbone. Donors undergoing this procedure can take up to one week to recover.
Potential donors must be between ages 18 and 60 and in good health, said McCullough.
The CCC is the first nationally recognized undergraduate cancer council that embraces students in the pursuit of aiding with the fight against cancer and health disparities.
The bone marrow registry drive will be on campus today and Wednesday. Volunteers can register as potential donors at any of the 14 collection sites around the Houston area.
For information about bone marrow donation visit, http://www.bethematch.org
A list of Houston collection sites can be seen at http://www.giveblood.org