To provide a bit of a back story, I registered to become a bone marrow donor and got my organ donation card as soon as my youngest son turned a year old. Last night, I got an e-mail from Be The Match — the bone marrow registry that I am on — letting me know this amazing tidbit of information.
In our ongoing registry analysis, we’ve learned that because of your human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type, you’re among a small group of registry members that can make a big difference.
Your HLA type, determined from the cheek swab or blood sample you provided when you joined the registry, is considered uncommon—yet extremely valuable. Having an uncommon HLA type means fewer patients will potentially match you, but when they do, they need you even more.
Any concerns about it being spam, or one of those pre-populated e-mails that businesses and companies can send out to make you feel
more special than you are to them, were dispelled when I saw that my name was in the e-mail, along with my donor center number and donor record number.
Not only does this make my listing on the bone marrow registry more meaningful, meaning that I can potentially help someone out there who would otherwise have had to wait much longer due to their equally as uncommon status, but this means that I can be of more assistance when it comes to organ donation as well. Whether it’s living donation or the alternative, HLA matches determine who gets what organs because the closer the match, the less likelihood there is of (relatively quick) rejection.
I’m glad that I am on the bone marrow and organ donation registries. I intend to stay on them, too.