Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help for Isabella

Recently I received a call from a friend and colleague in DC regarding her god daughter Isabella. A beautiful little four year old with Leukemia, who in 2008 received a bone marrow transplant and was in remission until March 2010. As she told me the story of this brave little girl, I was very touched at heart, because being a parent of a daughter AND a son I cannot imagine the heartache that Isabella's mother is going through... Actually, I can imagine it. As a parent there is NOTHING worse than feeling helpless when it comes to the well being of your child.

Currently, Isabella is in need of another bone marrow transplant but does not have any prospects. Why? Because, only 30 percent of the patients in need find a matching donor in their own family. Which means that they will then have to turn to the National Marrow Donor Program. That should solve the issue right? Wrong! There are not enough minorities/people of color registered to be a donor and so people of color have the hardest time getting a donor match. Which means there is only One in a million chance of getting a match. How sad! This was a eye opener for me, because I did not know that in order to receive a bone marrow transplant the donor has to be of same or like ancestry.

I began to wonder "why is it that so many minorities are not represented in such a needed area?" Well I believe it is because of a lot of misconceptions within our communities. So I did my own research and came across the Be The Match Registry (also known as the National Marrow Donor Program) . This website is full of information, one page that I found very informative was the MYTHS & FACTS PAGE where I learned that I was wrong in my knowledge about being a donor. It is not a overly painful procedure that is done without anesthesia, and there is more than one way to donate. You should check out the site, perhaps there is a myth that you believed too, but can learn the truth to. Go to

Please check out the site find out where you can go locally to register and learn what you can do to help Isabella and children like her. And imagine, what would you want for your children if they were in her shoes? How would you feel if YOU were Monica, Isabella's mother fighting for the survival of your child which is dependant on the sacrifice of others? A serious matter, deserving serious attention.

Here is another site that I found for those who want to help but want to do so without the use of blood. I know that personally I want all of my needed surgical procedures to be performed without the use of blood transfusion. If you have the same beliefs or concerns then this site is a great place to start looking for bloodless alternatives when donating and receiving for transplants.

Let's give Isabella and others like her a fighting chance.

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