July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness month, a time to raise awareness and inspire action in the fight against blood cancers like leukemia and blood disorders like sickle cell disease.
7% is not enough. African Americans are under-represented on the bone marrow registry – accounting for only 7% of all registrants.
Heritage matters: Because a patient's best chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor is with someone of similar ancestry, African Americans with blood cancers and disorders have a harder time finding a lifesaving donor.
Let’s change this! Join the movement to save lives and increase the diversity of the registry during African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month
• Get Registered! It’s a simple cheek swab. Get started online.
• Raise Awareness: Share on social media to let your friends and family know about the crucial need to add more African Americans to the registry.
Do you know about AABMAM?Take the quiz
Patrick is a young man with big dreams. In 2009, after beating blood cancer as a teenager, he combined his love of design with his experience as a patient to create clothing specifically suited for the needs of cancer patients.
Huntar is an energetic 10-year-old girl who likes yoga, loves to read, and excels at arts and crafts. In 2013, she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.
Judge Carl Fox has led an active and interesting life: In 1984, he was appointed the first black District Attorney in North Carolina.
In March, 2015, Patrick learned that he had developed a rare form of leukemia and would now need a bone marrow transplant to survive. Patrick is currently receiving an aggressive treatment regimen to keep him alive while his medical team searches for a matching donor. Please share Patrick's story and encourage your friends and family to register now!
If not treated, her condition can develop into leukemia. A bone marrow transplant is Huntar’s best chance to live a long, healthy life, but her chances at finding a matching donor are challenging. You can help Huntar find her match by registering and sharing her story.
In 2005, he became Senior Superior Court Judge and holds the position to this day. He’s also well-known for baking delicious cheesecakes and giving them away to people! Carl was recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and has used his fight as an opportunity to shed light on the need for more African Americans to join the bone marrow registry. “My chances of a match increase if there are more young African American donors on the registry,” said Fox, who launched a Facebook campaign called “Save the Fox” and will be holding bone marrow drives in July.
After 2 years of waiting, a matching donor was found for Tiffany, a spirited young girl battling sickle cell disease.
Montsho is a poet, writer, artist and musician from Austin Texas who was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 2014.
In 2013, after getting a devastating diagnosis of aplastic anemia, Rachel discovered how very fortunate she was: Her older sister was a match!
Before her transplant, Tiffany was in such crippling pain that she had to stop attending school and dance. Today she is healthy and active – she loves going to school, riding her bike and taking dance classes! Tiffany’s family continues to host drives and raise awareness to inspire more people of color to join the bone marrow registry and help more African American patients become survivors.
It was only then that he learned the challenges he faced finding a matching donor. In April, 2015, he received a half-match transplant from his half-sister, and while his health outcome is still unfolding, he wants to do something to help others. He and his family are sponsoring One Swab One Life, a bone marrow drive to be held at an African American music festival in Austin. “I’m grateful that I had another option,” explained Montsho. “I want to make sure that others also have a chance.”
"I realize now how rare it is for matches to be found within the family and even rarer for African Americans to find donors on the registry,” Rachel explained. The college student received her transplant with her sister's cells in August, 2013, and today, she is healthy and active.
"After being sick for so long, I feel like a normal 22 year old," she said. "I’m a fitness enthusiast and a huge bone marrow donor advocate, and I hope that my story will motivate others to register and save a life!"
After Michael Menafee donated his bone marrow to a child last year, he was inspired to educate the public and expand the registry.
With the health of a blood cancer patient at stake, Alfred Howard would not let a blizzard get in the way of donating his life-saving stem cells.
When Tamera Walker read about Jasmina Anema – a little girl battling leukemia and searching for a donor – she knew she had to join the registry.
Michael has three drives scheduled this year and is working with his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, to help increase awareness in the African-American community about the need for more donors of color. With donors like Michael we WILL change the odds for patients in need of a transplant! Join Michael and register to become a potential bone marrow donor today!
On January 26, 2015, Blizzard Juno created treacherous road conditions and a travel ban in much of the Northeast. But that didn’t stop Alfred Howard. He was ready, willing and able to do what was needed to make the donation happen on schedule. There was a lot of teamwork involved, and once the procedure was complete, Alfred’s donated stem cells were transported by plane across the Atlantic Ocean to help a blood cancer patient in England.
“If someone in my family needed help like this, I would hope that they would get it no matter what,” said Alfred. “I feel that I'm blessed, so why not help somebody else?"
After she joined, Tamara became a match for another patient and went on to donate her cells for a transplant in 2012. Since then she has worked to encourage more African Americans to become donors. “African Americans only represent 7 percent of potential donors on the registry. Instead of talking about change and waiting around for help, WE can be the change. We can help someone live a longer, healthier life and make more memories.” Join Tamera and register to become a potential bone marrow donor today.