Jamel Lockhart, a student at Georgia Perimeter College and an assistant manager at McDonald’s, was born with Sickle Cell Anemia. His best hope for a cure is a marrow transplant. But first, he must find a genetically matched donor. Jamel is African American and he will most likely match someone of his own racial background. Unfortunately, of the more than 10 million members of the Be The Match Registry®, only 8 percent are African American.
In honor of World Sickle Cell Day, Northside Hospital is partnering with Be The Match and Atlanta Blood Services to raise awareness of the importance of blood and marrow donation and to recruit potential donors. A donor recruitment drive will be held Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at Northside Hospital Women’s Center, 1000 Johnson Ferry Road in Atlanta.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a condition passed down through families, in which red blood cells form an abnormal sickle or crescent shape. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body and are normally round, shaped like a disc. When cells “sickle,” it is hard for them to move through the blood stream. Though they are very small, the sickle cells can damage the blood vessels, keep blood from flowing and cause pain and other damage. Tissue that does not receive normal blood flow eventually becomes damaged. Complications include jaundice, gallstones and anemia.
SCD affects about 90,000 to 100,000 Americans, occurring in roughly one in every 500 African Americans. Currently, marrow or blood stem cell transplantation is the only potential cure. Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), is the largest and most diverse registry of potential marrow donors and umbilical cord blood units in the world. Patients depend on it to find a donor match and a second chance at life. However, because SCD is inherited, only 14 percent of patients are able to find an appropriate matched donor (someone who doesn’t have SCD) within their family. If you’re African American, your chances are even smaller.
A cheek swab is all it takes to potentially match a patient and save a life. Northside and Be The Match encourage everyone to take that first step and join the registry on June 19.
You also can stop by either of Atlanta Blood Services’ two locations during normal business hours.
- 5670 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 1075, Atlanta
· 220 Cobb Parkway North, Suite 100, Marietta
For more information about Be The Match or to find out what to expect when joining the registry, visit www.bethematch.org.
In fact, data released by NMDP shows that Northside outcome in the nation bone marrow transplants. the hospital’s For more information, visit www.northside.com.
Atlanta Blood Services (ABS) was established as a community blood center in July of 1998 with The Blood & Marrow Transplant Group of Georgia. Since that time, ABS has continued to provide lifesaving blood components for patients including cancer patients, infants and surgical patients, and is a permanent recruitment center for the Be The Match Registry. The staff of more than 20 health care professionals is dedicated to providing excellent care for donors and patients. ABS currently has an urgent need for platelet donations. For more information, call 404-459-8744 or visit www.atlantabloodservices.com.