Every year, thousands are stricken with leukemia and other blood-related diseases. In the past, such a diagnosis was often lethal. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments could often induce a remission, but rarely offer a cure.
Today, transplantation of healthy stem cells donated by related and unrelated volunteers, offers hope to many patients suffering from these deadly diseases. Advances in transplantation have made this procedure a reality for thousands who are alive today because a stranger gave them the gift of life.
It is indeed a tragedy that so many patients who could benefit from this life-saving procedure can not be treated. In order to have a transplant, there must be a donor: a volunteer who shares a tissue type similar to the patient. For many, finding a match is no easy task.What greater gift can one human being give to another than the Gift of Life?
|If you have or are at risk for HIV (AIDS), you cannot become a marrow donor.
|Active asthma is not acceptable. If a donor has not had an episode in five years and is not on medication, he or she is acceptable. Exercise-induced asthma is acceptable.
|Back problems (sprains, strains and aches) are common and may not interfere with a marrow donation. Serious back problems, particularly those requiring surgery or ongoing medical treatment, will be a cause for deferral.
|Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is acceptable if controlled by medication, providing it is not associated with heart disease.
|Cured local skin cancer (only simple basal cell or squamous cell) is acceptable. Cervical cancer in situ is acceptable. All other forms of cancer are unacceptable.
|Insulin dependent diabetes is not acceptable. Diabetes controlled by diet is acceptable.
|More than one seizure in the past year or multiple seizures are not acceptable. Epilepsy controlled with medication, when there has been no more than one seizure in the past year, is acceptable.
|Prior heart attack, bypass surgery or other heart disease is not acceptable. Mitral valve prolapse that does not require medication or restrictions is acceptable. Irregular heartbeat not requiring medication is acceptable.
|History of Hepatitis A is acceptable. Antibody to Hepatitis B core antigen is acceptable. Hepatitis B surface antigen is not acceptable. Hepatitis C antibody is not acceptable. Hepatitis vaccine is acceptable.
|Immunizations are acceptable, excluding HBIG and investigational vaccines.
|Asymptomatic Lyme disease is acceptable if the donor has been treated successfully with antibiotics. Chronic Lyme disease is unacceptable.
|Malaria more than three years ago is acceptable. If the volunteer finished a full course of antimalarial drugs more than six months ago, he or she is acceptable.
Donors whose Body Mass Index is over 40 will be deferred, as this may present a risk. To calculate your Body Mass Index, use the following calculation:
|Organ or tissue transplant
|Heart, lung, kidney, bone or other organ or tissue transplant recipients are deferred.
|Women who are pregnant may be tissue typed, but will be temporarily deferred if called as a potential donor. Marrow cannot be collected at any time during pregnancy.
|Sexually transmitted diseases
|Genital herpes will be evaluated at the time of physical exam, but is usually acceptable.
|Active pulmonary tuberculosis within the last two years is not acceptable.