WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center will host their annual marrow donor registry drive Friday, October 4th, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Morgantown Mall in Monongalia County. Organizers say there’s an especially urgent need for African Americans to register.
Londia Goff is a bone marrow transplant coordinator and nurse clinician for the Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program at the Cancer Center. She says this annual marrow drive where people register as potential marrow donors is critically important because patients with 73 different diseases, including leukemia and lymphoma, are dying for lack of matching donors.
Goff explains that a registry of willing donors was established in the 1980s and now contains some 14 million people. She says the likelihood of finding a match depends largely on ethnicity; those with European ancestry have an 80 percent chance, but that number drops dramatically for those with other backgrounds.
“It’s about a 7 percent chance for Hispanics; it drops down to a 3 percent chance for African Americans. So we desperately need people of ethnic backgrounds to join the registry,” Goff says.
Joining the registry requires 18-44 years of age, a health screening, a couple mouth swabs, and maintaining up-to-date contact information. Goff says she hopes to register at least 200 people during the drive.