At Gift of Life we believe every person battling blood cancer deserves a second chance at life — and we are determined to make it happen.
We are singularly passionate about engaging the public to help us get everyone involved in curing blood cancer, inherited immune disorders and other diseases. Whether as a donor, a volunteer or a financial supporter, you can save lives.
It begins with one remarkable person, one life-changing swab and one huge win – finding a match and a cure.
For some patients suffering from life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and other blood cancers, their only option for a cure and survival is a marrow transplant. Some patients have a family member who can donate, but in 70% of cases a volunteer donor is required. The Gift of Life Marrow Registry recruits donors like you who are willing to donate to patients with a matching tissue type.
Today you can take the first step in the process by registering to join the marrow registry. Once your swab kit arrives you will give a quick and painless cheek swab, complete a form and give your consent. We will test the cheek swab and add your tissue type to the registry, which is searched by hospitals worldwide.
Someday you may be lucky enough to be called upon to help a patient in need. If so, you will be asked to take a simple blood test to confirm your tissue type is a match and a physical to make sure you are healthy enough to donate. If everything checks out, you will be asked to donate in one of the following two ways listed below.
80% of donors will give peripheral blood stem cells from their circulating blood. To obtain enough cells for transplant, a donor is given injections of Filgrastim that stimulate large quantities of stem cells to mobilize from the bone marrow into the circulating blood. You can donate at Gift of Life’s state-of-the-art collection center or a hospital or clinic. You will be connected to an apheresis machine for about 4–5 hours while the stem cells are harvested. In rare cases the collection may take place over two days.
20% of people donate bone marrow which is found in the hollow cavities of large bones. It is withdrawn from the pelvic bone in an area called the iliac crest. The bone marrow is collected as an outpatient procedure in a hospital operating room under generalanesthesia. Marrow regenerates completely within four to six weeks. Donors usually go home after the donation and should anticipate taking a few days off after the collection to recover.