On the line: Donor help needed
Yesterday, two different women called The Bone Marrow Foundation’s office. One called from the East Coast, one called from the West Coast. One called on behalf of a patient, one called on her own behalf. They have a lot of differences, but they asked about a similar topic: the donor search.
The first woman called because a work colleague was recently diagnosed with cancer and admitted to the hospital. The patient’s co-workers immediately wanted to do something to help. They wanted to register people to be potential donors for when the time comes for their friend to have a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. They also wanted to raise funds to help pay for the treatment and care that lie ahead. Unfortunately, they didn’t know how to get started.
The other caller was the patient herself. She had just been told that she would need a stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, her only siblings – the best candidates to be her donor – live multiple states away and are in no financial condition to relocate or contribute to the cost of testing. The woman was looking for help with the cost of testing her siblings, the cost of collection if one of them can be a donor, and the cost of a wider donor search if neither of them is a match.
We receive a lot of phone calls to The Bone Marrow Foundation’s office. The majority are from friends, family members, and social workers of transplant patients, as well as patients themselves. Each caller has a story that demonstrates the struggles that many patients and their support community experience during the transplant process. In cases like these two, we are happy that the Foundation can be a resource to direct callers to information about how to become a donor and to provide financial assistance programs that make life-saving transplants possible.