Saturday, June 11, 2011

BMT and donor facts

A Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is used for patients with cancer or other conditions that effect your blood, like HLH. The procedure is designed to weaken or destroy tissue or cells that cause such diseases, and then replace those tissues or cells to restore healthy function. 

If you register on the National Marrow Donor Program and you are a match for a patient, some more testing will be done to determine if you are the best possible match. You will also go through an information session to learn more about the procedure, side effects and risks. You can change your mind at any time, but if you do, let them know immediately as they will have to continue to search for a match. 

You will not have to pay for the process, the cost is covered by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). But if you are a match, you will go to a hospital that partners with the NMDP and generally stay a full day, or in some cases overnight. You will be given anesthesia, and while the process varies a little depending on the hospital, generally the doctor will make several small incisions through the skin over the back of the pelvic bones. 

The doctor will insert a hollow needle with a syringe attached to draw out the marrow. You will be watched closely during recovery, and followed up with regularly after the process to monitor your physical condition and any side effects you may have. 

Your donation can be enough to save a life, but it will not effect or weaken your own immune system. Your marrow naturally replaces itself withing four to six weeks. For any other questions you may have, click here to go to the National Marrow Donor Programs FAQ page. 

If you would like to become a donor, click here. Then email me at to tell me about it so I can enter your name in the raffle!

Matthew and Andrew

Or if you don't think being a donor is for you, and would still like to help, click here to go to the Matthew and Andrew Akin Foundation website where you can make a financial donation. The Akin family lost both Matthew and Andrew to HLH despite the BMT, and are now raising awareness and collecting money for research for the disease.

Be the change. Make the difference.

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