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January 30, 2013

Saving a life as easy as a swab

Floyd Memorial hosting bone marrow registry drive Feb. 7

NEW ALBANY — Want to save a life someday? Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services will give you that opportunity from 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 7.

For the first time, the hospital will host a bone marrow registry drive at the Cancer Center of Indiana, 2210 Green Valley Road, New Albany. It’s quick and painless to register, and some day, that swab could lead to saving someone’s life.

“It just takes a simple cheek swab,” said Matt Rogers, physician services manager at Floyd Memorial.

Rogers became a donor after a college friend was stricken with lymphoma. 

“I became a donor, heard about the program and it has kind of blossomed,” he said. “It’s so easy to become a potential donor. She finally found a donor in California and has since had a transplant.”

According to Be The Match, more than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma each year. Their  best hope for a cure is a transplant from an unrelated adult donor or umbilical cord blood unit. About 70 percent of patients do not have a matching donor in their family.

The Be The Match Registry provides access to 9.5 million potential blood marrow donors and nearly 165,000 cord blood units. 

Rogers said there are several myths about being a donor and the process involved. However, he said it just takes a couple of minutes to fill out paperwork and have your cheek swabbed. Donors will be contacted every so often to see if they want to remain on the donor list. The event Feb. 7 is for anyone between the ages of 18 and 44, and there is always a need for minority donors, he said.

Cindy Ferree, marketing specialist at Floyd Memorial, said if donors are unable to attend the event Feb. 7, they can go online at marrow.org to receive a testing kit. They can complete the test at home and send it back.

“I want to encourage organizations and young adults to participate. This is so important,” Rogers said. 

On average, 54,000 new potential donors join the Be The Match Registry each month according to a release. More than 650,000 new potential donors joined the registry in 2011.

No appointment necessary for the Feb. 7 event.

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