For those who have yet to hear from us for a long time, we would like to emphasise that we have not forgotten about you! People have been asking us if they are being gradually forgotten or that their bone marrow is not needed at all. This is not true and the only reason why the call for action (to donate bone marrow) has not happened yet is because a match has yet to be found!
Our organisation is a unique one as the registered volunteer donors are not called upon to donate until they are found as a match for a patient in need of a transplant. The odds of finding a match is 1 in 20,000. Thus, while some are lucky enough to get the call to be a life-saving donor within a short period of time, many are still waiting and on standby even after 10 or 20 years.
Some might ask why it is so hard to be found as a match. In our world, we use Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to match patients with potential donors. HLA is like a barcode for our immune system to recognise what is the body’s cells or foreign cells that might be harmful to the body.
What if there is a mismatch? The donor’s cells that are engrafted onto the patient might start to identify the patient’s cells as foreign and the newly formed immune system will start attacking the patient’s body. Thus, it is essential to have 100%, or if not as close to 100%, match as much as possible!
We are constantly trying to find new ways to engage our existing pool of registered donor and sending out newsletters featuring our various blog posts is one such engagement efforts. But we understand that the email may end up in the junk folder, or some may have unsubscribed to our bi-monthly newsletter.
If you do not hear from us, it does not mean that you are forgotten, please do not give up on us and let go of the chance to save a life!