This is the second installment on our Bone Marrow Donation awareness series in support for the Bone Marrow Donor Registry, BE THE MATCH. Research shows that Latinos are the 3rd largest community to suffer from cancer, yet they are the least likely to participate in the bone marrow registry program.
Guest Post by DelDelp Medina (@deldelp).
10 years ago I thought about registering to be a Bone Marrow donor.
I read in my local newspaper about a boy of Colombian descent who needed a bone marrow transplant urgently. The photo accompanying the story showed his sweet tired face reflecting his long battle with a deadly disease: Leukemia. It gave him the air of someone both old and young at the same time. His adopted parents could not find a match, they asked for help. “I’ll do it, I am Colombian”, I thought, but time went on and I never registered. I was busy training for a race, planning a trip, and living my happily single life.
5 years ago I thought about registering to be a Bone Marrow donor.
I read in the newspaper about a girl of mixed Latino-Filipino descent who needed a bone marrow transplant urgently. The photo accompanying the story showed her parents who looked both bewildered and exhausted, a mixture of hopeful and heart broken. “I’ll do it,” I thought, but once again, time went on and I never registered. I was busy running a film festival, falling in love, and looking for an apartment.
2 years ago registered to be a Bone Marrow donor.
I read online about a Hapa girl who needed a bone marrow transplant urgently, neither one of her sisters were a match, though they shared the parents it was not enough. Her picture reminded me of my daughter, a sly smile with almond shaped eyes staring back at me through the screen. My daughter too is of mixed descent, and I light bulb went off for me. If my one-year-old got sick where would we find someone of Irish, Russian, Japanese, African, Native American, Jewish descent? If I did not register for someone else who would register for my daughter? Latino patients find a donor about 45 percent of the time and multi-racial people face even worst odds. It was time to pay it forward.
The process took less than 5 minutes, it was painless, and it gave me sense of accomplishment. I filled out the form, and swabbed my cheek. I periodically receive emails from the bone marrow bank, to keep in touch, and update any info as needed. If I am ever a match I know it will be easy, medically secure, and I will probably save a life.
You too can add your granito de arena. Register, keep in touch and tell your friends and family to do the same. Don’t let 10 years go by when you can make a difference today.
Myths & Facts about Bone Marrow Donation: https://marrow.org/Join/Myths_