Several bone marrow donor drives are scheduled to take place in Milpitas over the next week - and members of the Asian American Donor Program (AADP) say, they hope a lot of Asian Americans will come out in support.
Ruby Law and Nitu Binnarh of the AADP say Asian donors are especially needed right now.
Who Needs Bone Marrow Transplants?
Bone marrow transplants are a common and often effective treatment for patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, among others.
"For a successful transplant, a patient needs a matching donor," Binnarh explained. "Special testing determines whether a patient and a bone marrow donor are a good match."
However, Law and Binnark say, the national bone marrow registry is severely lacking in Asian donors.
"Race and ethnicity matter because the markers used in matching are inherited. Patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity," Binnarh continued. "Adding more donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the registry increases the likelihood that all patients will find the match they need."
What Happens at the Donor Drives?
At the upcoming donor drives, interested donors need only fill out consent forms and then submit to a cheek swab. In other words, organizers will merely swab the inside of your cheek for a DNA sample.
Then, your name and information about your body's specific "markers" will be entered into the national database for bone marrow donors. In the future, you will be called upon if a patient who matches up with your markers needs a bone marrow transplant.
"It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the consent form and get a cheek swab," Binnarh said.
Who Can Be a Bone Marrow Donor?
In order to participate, Law and Binnarh say, you must be in good, general health, and be between the ages of 18 and 60.
Upcoming Donor Drives in Milpitas
Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
, Study Group Room A, 160 N. First Street
Saturday, Jan. 28, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
750 Sequoia Dr.
Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 29, 2-6 p.m.
1191 W. Montague Expwy.
For more information, visit www.aadp.org.