Signing up for the National Bone Marrow Donation Program and donating marrow has become a lot easier on the donor. Tammy Amick of St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City says all it takes is a simple swab of your cheek to sign up.
And after a match is confirmed, Ammick says 90% of the donations are now done with a non-invasive transplant from the donor. “And it’s not the scary process that people think of, they think of a surgical process where you get the bone marrow from the hip,” Ammick explains.
“This day stem cells have come so far that…if you do match somebody it’s called apherisis, where they take off some blood, give the plasma back, and they get the stems cells from your blood.” Ammick says there’s a great need for donors.
“Ten-thousand people a year are waiting for a stem cell match,” Amick says. Robin Bird received word last week that she says a matching donor, and says the new process makes it easy for the donor who isn’t in the Sioux City area.
“He doesn’t have to go anywhere, if he is across the state, or the country, he can do it right in that state,” Bird says. You can find out more about becoming a bone marrow stem cell donor on-line at: bethematch.org.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City