Volunteers sign up to become bone marrow donors - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers sign up to become bone marrow donors

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ALBANY, N.Y. - The Albany College of Pharmacy is hoping to register people for the "Be The Match" donor registration program on Wednesday.

Michelle Thomas was matched with an infant patient two years ago, and Wednesday was there encouraging others to sign up.

Michelle says while she never met the young girl, who was 8 or 9-months-old at the time, she knows her donation made a difference. "I got a letter just saying that the family was so happy and she made a 100 percent recovery and she's a brand new baby for them," Michelle tells NEWS10.

It is stories like hers that Michael Garbin, with "Be The Match," hopes will encourage others. The process to join the donor registry is simple: You must be between the ages of 18 and 44, fill out some health questionnaires and provide a swab of your cheek. The 15 minute process could save a life.

"If a person needs a bone marrow transplant that means they have exhausted everything else. It's really a life and death situation," Garbin says.

While signing up is easy, finding the right match is difficult; in only 30 percent of cases is a family member a match.

"For the vast majority of cases, we need a total stranger to donate to save a life," Garbin says.

The donor registry currently has about ten million people.

 

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