BR Mayor, Cancer Center and Be the Match successfully meet 90-day challenge
(Baton Rouge, La.) More than 300 new donors were added to the national bone marrow registry as part of the 90-Day Donor Challenge, coordinated by Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Be the Match. This exceeds the drive goal of 250 new registered donors for this inaugural initiative.
Bone marrow is key to treating a number of deadly blood cancers and other blood disorders and is often a patient’s only hope for a cure. While donating bone marrow has become quite simple and is often equivalent to donating blood, its impact is immeasurable. With a simple swab of the mouth, a match could be made to save someone’s life.
“The overwhelming community support of this collaboration has helped build the national registry, and could create more matches and save more lives,” said Mayor Holden. “With a match more likely to be found within someone’s own race or ethnicity, we are thrilled that 66 percent of those who signed up represent racial and ethnic minorities.”
More than 10,000 people a year need a bone marrow transplant, but only 28 percent of those on the national registry are minorities with seven percent being African –American.
During the 90-Day Donor Challenge, 14 registration events were conducted from Aug. 2 – Nov. 1 at various city-wide locations including Southern University, Perkins Rowe Shopping Center and the EBR City Parish Health Fair at the River Center. Fifty percent of the 305 new registrants came from two drives at Southern University.
“We are so appreciative to the Baton Rouge community for stepping up and joining this effort because increasing the registry is vitally important,” said Renea Duffin, the Cancer Center’s vice president, cancer support and outreach. “About 70 percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family, so they depend on the Be the Match Registry to find an unrelated donor as soon as possible. We were humbled to be a part of such an important initiative that could benefit people well beyond the Baton Rouge area.”
To learn more about bone marrow registration, please visit BeTheMatch.org.