Help Cure Sickle Cell Disease
Joining Be The Match may be the most important thing you do this year
Sickle cell disease is a debilitating illness causing chronic and extreme pain, fatigue, swelling, infection, and more for the approximately 100,000 Americans living with it today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle cell disease disproportionally affects the Black and African American community, occurring among 1 out of every 365 births. So, your favs in the entertainment industry, like Tiki Barber and T-Boz, who have publicly shared that they live with the disease? Their illness is actually not that rare in the Black community.
The hopeful news? There is a cure! Blood stem cell donations can change the lives of those living with sickle cell disease, and Be The Match, which operates the donor registry, is leading the charge.
Be The Match saves lives through cellular therapy. An innovator in the field, they provide treatments or cures for life-threatening diseases like sickle cell or blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma via donors who typically share the same ethnic background as the patients they donate to. However, only 8% of registry members identify as Black or African American, meaning the majority of searching Black or African American patients in the U.S. don’t have a donor on the Be The Match Registry and have to continue living with their life-threatening diseases.
Let’s change that and show up for our brothers and sisters! Help be a part of the cure, and perhaps save a life, by signing up to be a potential blood stem cell donor.
Why register to be a donor?
Be The Match strives to make it easy for you to join the registry and say “yes” when called to donate. They cover costs involved in donation, including lost wages (when not covered by an employer), childcare, pet care (yes, they’ll take care of your little fur baby), travel for you and one companion (maybe you’d feel more comfortable knowing that Momma or Hubs is there to have your back) medical exams, any post-donation follow-ups and more.
Their team is also committed to providing access to health care resources and education for all donors.
They pair each one with a Donor Advocate to support them throughout the process and answer any questions. “We take the utmost care of our donors,” says Erica Jensen, Be The Match senior vice president. “Making sure our donors are healthy and well cared for throughout the entire process is as important as the cells that we’re delivering to that searching patient.”
While your recovery after donation might vary from other donors (and is also dependent on the method of donation), most people should expect to return to work, school and other activities within 1 to 7 days. Side effects also vary but can include general soreness, discomfort, and fatigue.
The key to saving more lives
Growing and diversifying the registry is key to saving more lives! Check out the Be The Match video playlist to learn more about how you can help be a part of the cure for your family, friends and community, and other African Americans living with a disease like sickle cell, lymphoma, or leukemia. If you’re ready to answer the call, you can head to the My Be The Match site to join the registry now.
Even if you are not able to donate, there are other ways to advocate for a cure. You can use your voice in legislative efforts. You can fundraise or donate funds to help cover costs for patients that insurance doesn’t and support groundbreaking research. And finally, you can share stories and spread the word about the power of the registry and that with more qualified blood stem cell donors, more members of the African American community can find relief from their suffering and maybe even a cure for their disease.
Help Cure Sickle Cell Disease
Joining Be The Match may be the most important thing you do this year.
Read more about the importance of Sickle Cell awareness, here and about the need for blood donations, here.