All the Body Parts You Can Donate to a Good Cause
Beth Skwarecki Tuesday 10:00am Filed to: BODY HACKS
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Who needs it? People with leukemias and lymphomas, bone marrow diseases, and immune system disorders like SCID may need a bone marrow transplant. They can’t just use any bone marrow, either: the donor’s tissue type has to match the recipient’s. Most patients who need a transplant can’t find a family member whose tissue type is a close enough match to allow them to donate. That’s why registries are so important—maybe you are someone’s match.
Who can donate? Guidelines for who can donate bone marrow are similar to those for donating blood. In addition, you have to be a good tissue match for the person who needs bone marrow. People are most likely to match with someone else from their racial or ethnic background, so registries especially need people whose heritage is African, Latino, Native American, Asian, or mixed race. Most doctors will request a donor who is under 45 years old, since younger people’s cells make for more successful transplants.
How to donate: Sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program. As part of the registration process, you will swab your cheek and send the swab for testing. This is how they know what tissue type you are. Once you are on the registry, there’s about a 1 in 500 chance that you will end up being somebody’s marrow donor.
There are two ways you might be asked to donate. The older method is a surgery where you get a giant needle in your hip. It’s great for medical TV, but not very common anymore. These days it’s more likely that you will get five daily injections of a medication called filgrastim that causes your bone marrow to release stem cells into your blood. When you donate, a machine will spend several hours filtering those cells out of your blood. In the meantime you can watch movies and chat with friends. If you’ve been put off of donating bone marrow because you were afraid it was a huge, painful needle, don’t be.
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What better way to celebrate the Christmas season?
Helping your fellow human being.
Will it hurt? Maybe. But imagine how it would be to be on the other side of it. Needing but not having a donor.
Wish I was under 45.
Maybe because Our Girl Frau Reinke passed away from an unknown blood disease makes this more impact with me.
p.s., I’m a platelet and organ donor. (Platelet donations is a two hour process where, I swear, they remove them from your butt via a handy vein. I know it comes from one’s butt because that’s the only part of me that hurts. And, no, I am NOT supine on my wallet, funny people!)
Dona Nobis Pacem
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