There are thousands of people with blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening diseases that depend on a bone marrow or cord blood transplant to save their lives.
However, finding the right Genetic type used to match donors and patients is much more complex than simply matching blood type, for example. Matching is based on genetic markers called human leukocyte antigen (HLA).
HLA are proteins — or markers — found on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not.
Because some HLA types are more common than others, some patients may face a greater challenge in finding a matching donor. Some HLA types are found more often in certain racial and ethnic groups, which is why Be The Match, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation, has a broad registry of donors from as many ethnic backgrounds as possible.
Improving the ethnic diversity of the registry improves all patients’ odds of finding a life-saving match, regardless of their ethnic background. Adding more potential donors to increase the ethnic diversity of the registry is a very important focus for Be The Match!
Not to be deterred in their ignorance, people still kept coming forward with indignant accusations of racism. This time it was Karissa to the rescue.
This was turning out to be a highly valuable educational moment. Karissa was yet again called into action, as people continued to ignore the previous explanations in favor of either crying racism or gleefully using it to justify their own bigotry.
By now Karissa and Sydney must’ve started to feel a bit frustrated with people trying to use medical science to justify their own world views. Admirably though, they kept on coming with polite, thoughtful and educational responses, made without judgment or the slightest hint of anger at people’s continued ignorance.
So what did we learn from this mess of a comments section? Well, Karissa and Sydney are absolute champions of their cause – patient, respectful and dedicated to getting the word out and educating people about the importance of donors.
Also, please join the registry if you are able to do so! Donations of all kinds – be it blood, bone marrow or anything else – can mean the difference between life and death for someone in need.
What do you think? Are a donor of some kind? Have you ever needed a transfusion or transplant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!