LYNCHBURG – Jack Daniels Employees and members of the Lynchburg community will have the opportunity to join the bone marrow donor registry and potentially save the life of a patient fighting blood cancer on Friday, Jan. 30. Sharing America’s Marrow (SAM) a grassroots movement to register 50,000 donors in 2015 is coming through Lynchburg as a part of its yearlong, 50-state quest around the country.
Thousands of patients fighting blood cancer and other diseases need bone marrow transplants but can’t find a matching donor. One of those patients is Sam Kimura, who has been fighting a bone marrow failure since 2010.
SAM is a campaign started by Kimura, her sister Alex Kimura and their friend Taylor Shorten and in collaboration with Delete Blood Cancer. They hope to dispel the myths of bone marrow donation, educate the public on the importance of registration and register as many people as possible to become potential bone marrow donors.
Sam Kimura, 22, is fighting a rare bone marrow failure disease and has yet to find a donor for the transplant that she needs to cure her disease. SAM is travelling to all 50 states with the hopes of finding a donor for Sam and for the thousands of other patients fighting blood cancer and other diseases.
“There are people all over the world who are fighting blood cancer and other diseases like mine, and they are desperately searching for a match,” said Sam Kimura. “We have to let people know that they can do something about this.”
Matches are based on DNA, so it is incredibly rare to actually get a call to donate, but it could mean that you could be the one person in the world who could save a patient’s life.
“We need to let people know it’s easier than they think to give someone fighting cancer a second chance at life,” added Alex. “We hope that by sharing our story we can inspire people to join the registry.”
If you are contacted because someone needs your bone marrow, the doctor will ask you to donate it in one of two ways — through peripheral blood stem cell donation or bone marrow donation. The method is selected by the doctor depending on which is safest for the patient in need of the bone marrow.
Peripheral blood stem cell donation is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that collects blood stem cells through the bloodstream. The procedure takes about 4-8 hours on 1-2 consecutive days. This method is used about 75 percent of the time.
Bone marrow donation, which is generally used on children, is done during a 1-2 hour surgical procedure with the donor under anesthesia to ensure there is no pain involved. The marrow is extracted from the back of the pelvic bone with a syringe.
To register, come to Jack Daniel Employee Credit Union on Jan. 30 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Potential donors must be between the ages of 18 and 55, in general good health and willing to donate to any patient in need. Signing up is easy and consists of completing a registration form and swabbing the inside of the mouth.
Any registrant could be the cure for a patient fighting a blood cancer. To learn more about the SAM campaign and the registration and donation process, visit <www.sharemarrow.com>.
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