Need for bone marrow registry members is great, signing up is simple


Posted on June 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 9:45 AM
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NEW ORLEANS - In all, it takes about 30 seconds. But the result of that minute amount of time can be unparalleled.

"Well basically when you sign up to be a bone marrow donor, you're signing up to save someone's life," said Natalie Rowe of "Be the Match" registry.

As part of WWL-TV's "Perfect Match" program in support of Sally-Ann and Robin, the station held its own bone marrow and organ donation sign up day.

To get on the bone marrow registry, you need only do what Sally-Ann did for Robin - a simple cheek swab. You don't have to do anything else. You're only needed again if you are a perfect match.

"However they may not be called for a week, a month or even five to 10 years because you don't donate your bone marrow until you find a match for someone in need," Rowe said.

She also said it is a need that everyone of every ethnicity consider.

"As of now we really have an urgent need for more minorities to join the registry. African Americans only make up seven percent of the national marrow donor registry, Hispanics are 10 percent and Asians make up seven percent," she said.

The need is great not only for the bone marrow registry, but for organ and tissue donation, as well.

Across the United States there are 114,000 people sitting on an organ donation waiting list.

By simply signing up, you could give someone else a second chance at life.

"One person can save the life of nine people and one person can also save the lives of 50 people with tissue," said Cheryl McGee-Hills of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.

For both organizations, their challenge is to raise awareness and dispel the myths that keep people from signing up.

"'Cause so many people want to take it with them, and you can't take it with them. Heaven knows we don't need it.. We don't need it...We need it here," said McGee-Hills.

To find out more information about either registry or to sign up is simple.

For the "Be the Match" bone marrow registry, log on to or call them toll free at 1-800-MARROW-2 (1-800-627-7692.)

For the organ and tissue donation, contact the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA.) Their website is or call them toll free at 1-800-521-4483.

Get information on WWL-TV's "Perfect Match" program.