Feel Good. Save a Life. Marrow Program

Branden Linton and marrow recipient Camden LooperEach year, more than 12,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood cancers or other blood diseases.  For them, the only hope of a cure is a marrow transplant.

Only 30% of patients in the U.S. in need of a marrow transplant have a matching donor in their family. So, 70% depend on marrow programs such as Oklahoma Blood Institute’s (OBI) marrow program and others affiliated with the national marrow registry, BeThe Match® to find a donor.

How Do I Register?
The entire process takes only about 10-15 minutes. Registrants need to:

  • be 18-44 years old and, meet health guidelines,
  • complete a registration form with contact information for registrant and two family members or friends who can be reached in the future, in case registrant’s address changes,
  • answer health questions,
  • sign an agreement to join the registry,
  • swab cheek for tissue typing and matching.

Registry in the marrow program offers you the unique opportunity to give a life-saving marrow transplant to someone in need.

Who Needs It?
Many of those needing marrow transplants are facing leukemia, lymphomas, sickle cell anemia and other blood diseases. Patients are most likely to match donors of their same diverse race and ethnicity. Only 31% of those who have registered as potential donors have diverse racial or ethnic heritage (3.2 million of the nearly 10.5 million registrants).

What Happens If I’m a Match?
If, in the future, you’re a suitable match for a person who needs a marrow transplant, you will be contacted. OBI is involved in the screening and matching of donors to patients around the world, as well as collecting the peripheral blood stem cells.

The majority of the time, a marrow donor gives through peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection, a process very similar to a blood donation. Marrow is naturally replaced by the body in 4-6 weeks following a PBSC donation.

Occasionally, marrow is taken from a donor’s pelvic bone, when the person needing the transplant is deemed to likely have a better outcome if this approach is used. Anesthesia is used in this outpatient procedure, and the donor may experience soreness in the area following the procedure.

How Do I Hold a Marrow Registry Drive?
Whether you represent a large corporation or a small church, an urban community center or a rural town, patients need you. Contact us and we will walk you through the process of organizing your drive.

How Do I Volunteer?
Many hands are needed to help organize marrow registry drives and spread the word about this unique way to save a life. Contact us and we will provide a list of dates and times where volunteers like you are needed.

How Can I Financially Contribute?
There is no charge to join the marrow registry. However, the cost to OBI is approximately $100 for each person registered. Our ability to enlist even more life-saving donors is limited without contributions from individuals and organizations. Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to Oklahoma Blood Institute to help with costs.

To register or schedule a registry event, volunteer or make a financial contribution, contact the marrow registry coordinator at 405-297-5593.

Pictured are Branden Linton, 17, and Camden Looper, 6.  Branden battled leukemia as a young teenager. He is alive thanks to a marrow transplant.  Camden had a two-year battle with leukemia in the first years of his life.  He received a marrow transplant from a matched donor registered through Be The Match®, administered by Oklahoma Blood Institute.