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Akron Children’s Hospital encourages donors to ‘Be the Match’ at bone marrow drive

08-15-2018 (Akron, Ohio )

Saving a life can start with a simple act -- like a cheek swab.

That’s all it takes to join the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match Registry, which helps patients with life-threatening blood disorders and cancers like leukemia and lymphoma connect with a donor match for a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

To help register those who are interested, Akron Children’s Hospital will host a drive at the hospital, 1 Perkins Square, on Aug. 23 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The booth will be set up in the third floor of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion at the east end of the connector that leads to the main hospital building. The hospital will also host a drive at the Akron RubberDucks game at Canal Park on Aug. 24 from 7 to 10 p.m., which is the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders’ annual celebration night for patients and families.

“At Akron Children’s, we have many patients who have benefited from the National Marrow Donor Program,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hord, director of the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children’s. “We have several right now who are in need of a transplant to survive, and we hope this drive will bring them and patients around the world one step closer to finding a match.”

To sign up for the registry, participants should be between the ages of 18 and 44; be committed and willing to donate to any patient in need; and meet a list of health guidelines. There are also height and weight guidelines. Complete details are available at bethematch.org.

Akron Children’s is welcoming all who qualify to consider joining the registry but those who are of diverse racial and ethnic heritage are especially needed. The best transplant outcomes happen when a patient’s tissue type and the tissue type of a registry member closely match. Patients are most likely to match the tissue type of someone who shares their ethnic background.

Be The Match officials said about 1 out of every 430 registry members go on to donate to a patient. About three-fourths of donations are done using a nonsurgical, outpatient procedure to extract peripheral blood stem cells. About a quarter of matching donors provide marrow through a surgical, outpatient procedure in which general or regional anesthesia is used.

At the hospital and baseball game drive sites, Be The Match personnel and hospital staff will be on hand to answer questions and help donors sign up to receive a kit delivered to their home. The kit includes a swab and instructions on how to use it and send it in to be on the registry.

For additional information on the drive, go to the website or call 330-543-4017.