UNC Challenges 1000 to Be the Match

Join the National Marrow Donor Program’s registry and you could save a life!

Volunteers and organizations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are uniting to challenge 1000 people from the UNC and Chapel Hill communities to join the The MatchSM Registry during a drive scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the faculty lounge at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Parking is available for participants in the Morehead Planetarium Visitor Parking Lot.

Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other diseases that may require a life-saving bone marrow or stem cell transplant. The Be The MatchSM Registry is the only hope for the 70 percent of patients needing a marrow transplant who do not have a matching donor in their family. Less than 4 in 10 patients receive the transplant they need, in many cases because no matching donor can be found.

Some of these patients are close to home, like UNC Arts and Sciences Foundation Director, Jamie May, who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2005. May, a patient of UNC Lineberger faculty member, Dr. Peter Voorhees, could need a bone marrow transplant in the future. More than 100 patients receive bone marrow transplants each year at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.

That’s why volunteers from various offices at UNC, including Phi Gamma Delta, the College of Arts and Sciences Foundation, the UNC chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, have banded together to issue a challenge to the UNC and Chapel Hill communities to join the registry.

The Be The MatchSM Registry offers people the opportunity to help a patient by registering to be a potential donor of bone marrow or stem cells. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 who meets the health guidelines and is willing to donate to any patient in need may join the registry.

The registration process takes only about 15 minutes and requires just a simple health history, contact information and a signed agreement to join, along with a swab of cheek cells. Volunteers are asked to provide personal identification and contact information for two family members or friends who will know how to reach you in the future if your contact information changes.

Although the Be The MatchSM Registry is one of the largest and most racially and ethnically diverse registry of its kind in the world, with more than 8 million potential donors, the combination of our increasingly diverse society and the precise matching criteria for transplantation means that more volunteers are always needed and welcome. Since its founding in 1987, the registry has facilitated more than 38,000 transplants to give patients a second chance at life.

People who are unable to join us on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Morehead Planetarium can participate in the Be The MatchSM online drive. Please join the national registry by visiting www.marrow.org and click the join now tab and follow the online instructions. Please use the promotion code tarheel when finalizing your registration.

Fore more information about the process, please visit www.marrow.org. For more information about the Feb. 23 event, contact Lanier May at lanier_may@unc.edu.