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Consider Being a Donor for Gift Of Life

Misconceptions about the procedures involved may be why many people are hesitant about becoming a stem cell or bone marrow transplant donor.

School Nurse Sue Scalgione and donor drive participant Jamie Ventriglio/photo by Dianne DeOliveira, Townsquare Media

Gift Of Life has a world donor bank for people needing donations. Finding successful matches is very difficult. “The percentage varies, but for the most part, it’s about one in one-thousand.” said Nick Hudson, Special Projects Coordinator with Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Age and DNA are what prevents someone from becoming a donor. Most donors are between the ages of 18 and 35. “About 85% of the people who wind up donating are under the age of 35,” Hudson said. “So the younger you are, the greater the chance you’ll donate.”

That means reaching out through donation drives and testing as many potential candidates as possible. The initial test is simple and painless. I did it at a drive recently held at Freehold Borough Elementary School in conjunction with Freehold Biotech High School.

School Nurse Sue Scalgione and donor drive participant Jamie Ventriglio/photo by Dianne DeOliveira, Townsquare Media
School Nurse Sue Scalgione and donor drive participant Jamie Ventriglio/photo by Dianne DeOliveira, Townsquare Media

You can register online at giftoflife.org. A mouth swab kit will be sent directly to your home, or you can go to a drive to have the swabbing done. It literally takes less than a minute and is painless. You get four long swabs that you use to swipe the upper and lower areas of your cheeks to collect DNA. The swabs are then sent for testing to see if you are a match.

Successful donor matches will be contacted for further testing, including blood work and a physical. Once a person clears all of the necessary tiers, they will be able to donate in one of two ways: The most common procedure use in more than 80 percent of cases is non-surgical and involves a blood withdrawal process from the donor’s arm. The other procedure is done in less than 20 percent of the cases and involves extracting bone marrow from a donor’s hip.

Consider giving someone the gift of life!

 

 

 

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