Tales and Musings

What's your blood type?

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What's your blood type?

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National Marrow Donor Program Registry

On any given day, more than six thousand people are searching the National Marrow Donor Program Registry, trying to find a bone marrow donor who's a match for themselves or someone close to them who is terribly ill.

These people – men, women and children from every walk of life - have leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia and other life threatening illnesses that can best be treated with a bone marrow (or cord blood, but I know diddly about that) transplant. For most of these people, the transplant is their best – sometimes, their only – hope for a cure. Without it, many of them will die.

There are millions of people who need a bone marrow transplant in order to be healthy again. In order to survive whatever illness is plaguing them. They search, or their doctors search, or their loved ones search, trying to find a match. But there isn't one. The Donor Registry is large, but it doesn't contain everyone. I'm writing this to encourage you to consider adding your information to the Registry, and perhaps become a bone marrow donor at some point. If you're a match for someone.

If you're not a match for someone you know, you might be a match for someone else. I'm a member of the National Marrow Donor Program Registry and have been for years. I dug out my Registry card to make sure I'm up to date in terms of contact information. I'm still helpless at this point, because I'm not a match for Minxie. One of you might be.

I encourage everyone to click the link above, read the information, be sure you understand it, and go have the testing done. If you have questions, feel free to email me or catch me on Yahoo or AIM. I'll be happy to talk to you about it, and tell you as much as I can. I'm no expert, you understand, but I'll do my best to answer your questions. The initial testing is fairly simple. No more than a blood sample is needed. If you're a match for someone, then there are other considerations. The people at the Registry would be able to answer those questions better than I can, to be sure.

Right now, this minute, it's personal. Because it's Minxie. Y'all know how I feel about her, if you know either of us at all. If we were ten, we'd have matching BFF bracelets or something. I love her, and she's sick, and I can't really do anything to make her better. I can't begin to explain how much I want to fix things - right NOW this minute - for her. But I can't. She's one of my closest friends, and this is the only thing I can do to help her right now. My tissue isn't even close to a match for her. One of you might be.

On a larger scale, though, it's not so personal. It's a vitally necessary thing for many people. Donating bone marrow, while not without risk, is still a reasonably safe procedure, from the Donor's perspective. It can save a life. It can keep a family together. It can ensure a mother lives long enough to raise her children. It can ensure a child lives long enough to find their purpose in life, and has a chance to fulfill it. That's a big deal – racks up huge positive Karma, if you believe in such things.

If your blood type does not contain the Rh factor – in other words, if you're AB negative, or O negative, or A or B negative - this post is particularly aimed at you. That's the personal part kicking in. Minxie's blood type is the rarest, most special of 'em all, and it's going to take some work to find her a match. It's more complicated than just blood type. Click the link – read the information. Join the Registry, if you're able. Thank you.

Here's some more info about bone marrow transplants: http://www.neutropenia.ca/research/facts.html
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