Oklahoma Blood Institute Encourages Donors to “Be The Match”
February 1- 28, 2017
January 31, 2017 ─ As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, Oklahoma Blood Institute is highlighting its partnership with the Be The Match Registry throughout the month of February. Be The Match helps connect patients with leukemia, lymphoma or other life-threatening blood conditions, to life-saving donors.
Donors between the ages 18 and 44 who meet basic health requirements, and who can commit to donating to any patient in need, can do a simple cheek swab at Oklahoma Blood Institute donor centers and special events in order to join the Be The Match Registry.*
By joining the registry, donors could help patients like Kamryn Dukes, age 10, of Oklahoma City, who suffers from the excruciating and debilitating symptoms of sickle cell disease, requiring frequent blood transfusions. She has been waiting nearly four years for a match.
“I’d give anything to take away what she goes through,” said Kamryn’s father, Cameron Dukes. “All it takes is a swab to see if you’re a match; I think anybody should be able to do that.”
Every year, more than 14,000 patients are diagnosed with blood cancers or other blood diseases. For them, the only hope for a cure is a blood stem cell or marrow transplant from a matching volunteer donor. 70% of them, like Kamryn, will not find a match in their family, so they depend on the Be The Match Registry, part of the National Marrow Donor Program.
Be The Match is looking for donors of all ethnic backgrounds. For more information, donors can visit obi.org/about-us/marrow-donor-program.
Throughout 2017, Oklahoma Blood Institute is celebrating 40 years of saving local lives. Established in 1977, Oklahoma Blood Institute is a non-profit, independent blood center now serving 165 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.
*Registrants who are potential matches are contacted confidentially by Oklahoma Blood Institute. A simple blood test, physical exam and information session are provided at Oklahoma Blood Institute. Methods of donation are typically stem cell donation, which can be done at Oklahoma Blood Institute, or, more rarely, a marrow donation.