I'm writing today's entry for my friend Summer who was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in February 2009. This rare disease has basically stopped her body from producing red and white blood cells and platelets thus making her super susceptible to infection and also making her very fatigued. At this point, Summer has already been through a treatment that involved blood transfusions to replenish her supply of red and white blood cells and platelets. Her body responded for awhile but has reached a plateau in terms of improvement. Currently, her physician is considering a second round of this same treatment and if that doesn't work she'll need to have a bone marrow transplant. Please be praying for Summer's FULL recovery--her body needs to be able to produce both types of blood cells and platelets so that she can return to her normal life which includes caring for a 9 month old. Please also be praying that this second round of treatment is a success so that they don't have to resort to a bone marrow transplant.
Now onto my next request and the subject of this blog. Most people have heard of donating blood but not as many have heard of donating blood marrow. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Summer's last resort for treatment is doing a bone marrow transplant. The thing is, she doesn't have perfect match registered in the nationwide bone marrow transplant. That's where you come in-if you read my blog I would like you to prayerfully consider donating bone marrow or at least spreading the word to your family and friends about this life giving opportunity.
To register in the blood marrow bank, you simply request a kit and then swab your cheek. It's really simple, and honestly pain free, and once the registry is updated, you could be a life-saving match for someone within a week. There is no fee associated with donating bone marrow--and even better is the procedure that they use to extract your bone marrow. One way that your bone marrow is harvested is a process called Stem Cell Pheresis. In stem cell pheresis, a donor gives only stem cells (undifferentiated cells that can develop into any type of cell) rather than whole blood. Prior to the donation procedure, the donor receives an injection of a special type of protein (growth factor) that stimulates the bone marrow to release stem cells into the bloodstream. Whole blood is drawn from the donor, and a machine that separates the blood into its components selectively removes the stem cells and returns the rest of the blood to the donor. For more information on how to donate bone marrow, please visit http://www.marrow.org/ or stop by a blood bank today and tell them that you would like to register in the bone marrow bank.
Finally, there is a replacement blood and bone marrow drive for Summer on Sunday, August 16th in Auberry, CA. If you know of anyone who lives in California who might be interested, please pass this info along to them.