Be The Match: A Call To Become A Bone Marrow Donor

Be The Match: A Call To Become A Bone Marrow Donor


Guest Post by Reina Valenzuela (@Soylamar)

Success stories as this one should happen everyday in the Latino community, but they don’t and we can change that!

In 1998 I registered to be a bone marrow donor… why? I became aware of the lack of Latinos in the donor registry when I found out my friend was diagnosed with leukemia and there was no compatible member in his family and available matches in the donor registry.

The fact is that only 30 percent of patients find compatible matches within their family; the other 70 percent must turn to unrelated donors found in the bone marrow donor registry, BE THE MATCH.

Although compatibility increases within people of the same racial or ethnic group, Salvadorans were nowhere to be found and the shortage of donors in all minorities group was alarming. I joined friends and decided to volunteer for donor drives. We helped organize donor registries at churches after Sunday services; at the stadiums after fútbol games; we even went to community centers and colleges. I found out that lack of awareness and obvious fear of donating was holding people back. I remember an older man telling his 26-year-old son that he had to die in order to donate. Ignorance is truly our worst enemy. We are about to change that!

A casual conversation under the #LATISM hash tag (via Twitter) has evolved into a series of guest posts by Deldelp Medina (@deldelp) Carlos Camacho (@carloscamacho) and other members of the #LATISM community who have witnessed living with the hope of finding a match or hoping to become that match for someone else. Join us as we begin our journey.

Read more about the Bone Marrow Donor Program

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Reina I. Valenzuela (@SOYLAMAR) is Vice-Chair of Membership for LATISM, a social and business entrepreneur who is passionate about community building on the ground and online.

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