"Celebration of Life" National Bone Marrow Donor Drives

November 01, 1999

Event: "Celebration of Life" National Bone Marrow Donor Drives

Date: Friday, November 5, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Strong Memorial Hospital - House of Six Nations Cafeteria

Saturday, November 6, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., St. John Fisher College - Elaine Wilson Pavilion, 3696 East Avenue

Cost: Free and open to the public

Each year, more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia, aplastic anemia, and lymphoma -- all life-threatening diseases with one potential cure -- a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant. For many patients, their only hope for a suitable donor lies within the National Marrow Registry.

November is National Marrow Donor Awareness Month and a perfect time to spread the message that transplants save lives. As part of the "Celebration of Life" campaign, Strong Memorial Hospital's Bone Marrow Transplant Program and Christopher's [Costello] Challenge have joined the National Marrow Donor Program in hosting two Rochester area marrow drives in an effort to recruit additional donors for the National Registry.

While individuals of all ethnic backgrounds are needed for the Registry, members of the minority community, including those of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian decent are especially encouraged to become donors. Since the characteristics of marrow are inherited, minorities in need of a transplant are most likely to find a suitable match within their own ethnic community.

While all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to attend either drive, the drive at Strong Hospital on Friday, November 5, which is being coordinated by UR medical students, is minority-focused. The drive at St. John Fisher on Saturday, November 6 has a general focus.

Thanks to funding from Christopher's Challenge, there is no cost to donors who wish to become part of the National Registry through either of these two drives.

More than three million volunteers are listed with the National Registry, in the hopes that someday, somewhere, they will be able to give another person a second chance at life. Unrelated marrow and stem cell transplants account for about 15% of transplants performed in this country each year. Since 1992, Strong Memorial Hospital has performed about 80 transplants using unrelated donors from the National and International Registries. Strong Memorial Hospital has the only bone marrow transplant program in the Finger Lakes Region.

The National Marrow Donor Program facilitated its first unrelated marrow transplant in 1987. Today, more than 100 patients receive marrow transplants through the National Marrow Donor Program each month.

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