Every year, approximately 12,000 men, women and children are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers. For many, receiving blood-forming stem cells from a genetically matched donor is their only hope of a cure. That person could be you.

How do you donate blood stem cells?

There are two ways to donate. The most common procedure involves sitting in a comfortable chair or hospital bed for a few hours while you have blood removed from one arm and circulated through a machine that separates out the cells the patient needs. Most donors watch TV or talk to a friend to pass the time.

The other method involves getting general anesthesia and two small punctures in the back of your pelvic bone to withdraw liquid bone marrow. The patient’s doctor chooses the donation procedure best for the patient.

Does donating hurt?

“Patients need people who are deeply committed to saving the life of any patient in need.”

Donor experience varies from person to person, but usually involves feeling sore for a few days or weeks. Many donors compare their discomfort to a strenuous workout. Most people are back to their normal routine in a couple days and say the discomfort was a small price to pay to save a life. While no medical procedure is entirely risk free, more than 99 percent of donors experience a full recovery. Protecting the safety of both patients and donors is essential to the process.

Who should sign up to join the donor registry?

Patients need people who are deeply committed to saving the life of any patient in need. Doctors prefer donors age 18-44. Individuals who increase the ethnic diversity of the donor registry are especially needed to help more patients find a match.

How do you join the Be The Match Registry?

It’s easy. Join online at BeTheMatch.org to learn more about the process, then order a cheek swab kit and return it to be added to Be The Match Registry. Do it today. You could be the one to save a life.