Joining the marrow registry is free June 8-22; The Jeff Gordon Foundation seeds fundraising with $300,000 donation to help grow the registry
Minneapolis, MN (June 8, 2009) – Every day, thousands of people with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases search the Be The Match Registry for a bone marrow match. To highlight the enormous need for more bone marrow donors, Be The Match, the new name for the National Marrow Donor Program® Registry, kicks off its national Be The Match Marrowthon campaign today.
From June 8-22, the Be The Match Marrowthon seeks to add 46,000 new members to the registry and raise funds for the Be The Match Foundation, giving thousands of patients a second chance at life. While adding a new member to the registry costs approximately $100, during this campaign, the registration fee is waived for the first 46,000 new members.
NASCAR’S Hendrick Motorsports is participating in the Be The Match Marrowthon to grow the number of registry members. The Jeff Gordon Foundation is generously donating $300,000 to kick off the campaign. “The Jeff Gordon Foundation is honored to support this campaign to help save the lives of those battling life-threatening illnesses,” said Jeff Gordon. “We encourage everyone who is able to participate in the campaign to join the Be The Match Registry or make a financial contribution to the Be The Match Foundation.”
“The Be The Match Marrowthon is a chance for the entire nation to get involved in this important health issue,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the National Marrow Donor Program. “One person truly can make a difference and we want to thank everyone who joins the Be The Match Registry or who gives funds or time to the cause. Every donor added to the registry and every dollar given helps save a life.”
As part of the Be The Match Marrowthon, dozens of patients in need of a bone marrow transplant are sharing their stories. For example:
• Matthew Nguyen is a pharmacy graduate student, distance cyclist and all-around overachiever who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in June 2007. Since then, his life has been put on hold – graduate school, his wedding and his plans for the future. Matthew is currently searching for a matching marrow donor to come forward who can help save his life.
• Andrew (age 2) and Matthew (age 4) Akin have a rare immune system disorder, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), which affects one out of every million children and can only be cured with a marrow transplant. Andrew is doing well after receiving his third transplant last winter. Matthew, who appears perfectly healthy, will go through transplant this summer to prevent his HLH from presenting later. Each brother has relied on the gift of a perfect stranger to join the registry and donate when called.
• Kenna Emmons (age 6) was born with a rare condition called combined immune deficiency syndrome. She dreams of returning to school, visiting Disney World and growing up to become a nurse. These dreams can be possible if a matching donor is found.
Joining the registry is as easy as filling out a health questionnaire and swabbing the inside of your cheek with a cotton swab. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60, in good health and willing to help any patient in need can join in person at one of many community drives taking place across the country, or online at BeTheMatch.org.
In addition to joining the registry, supporters can create their own marrowthon by visiting BeTheMatch.org/marrowthon and pledging to walk, bike, volunteer, garden, read, or any other type of activity, raising funds for every hour completed during the campaign.
Seventy percent of patients in need of transplant do not have a bone marrow match within their family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match – and a second chance at life. Increasing the number of diverse donors on the registry is critical because patients have the best chance of finding a match within their own race.