July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

Join us as we raise awareness about the urgent need for more African American marrow donors. Right now, only 66% of African American patients fighting blood cancers like leukemia and sickle cell disease can find a donor match to give them a second chance at life. Those are odds we are trying to help patients like Carlyle, Huntar, Zahara and Dianne beat. We need your support to do it. Host a marrow donor drive at your office, school or community-based organization to help us register new lifesavers. And, of course, register as a potential donor yourself at the Essence Festival or online right now.

Patients Who Need Us

Carlyle

Carlyle is a die-hard Bulls fan, a Harley-Davidson enthusiast, a hardworking hotel manager at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, loving husband and doting father. He was recently diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and needs a marrow transplant to beat it.

“The biggest difficulty isn’t the pain or the time away from my family and work, but rather the daunting task of finding a 100-percent donor match. As an African American, my chances of finding one decreases significantly.”

Huntar

This young girl from New Jersey is renowned for her energy and creativity. She likes yoga, computers, reading and doing arts and crafts projects. But her battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (also known as pre-leukemia) involves constant transfusions that limit her ability to pursue her passions. She needs a marrow transplant and a donor who can make it happen.

“Make my dream come true.”

Zahara

Five year-old Zahara loves to sing, dance, dress up and let loose at Chuck E. Cheese. She has plans to become a doctor someday, but first she has to beat the sickle cell that is threatening her future. She needs a marrow transplant and a matching donor to help her realize her dreams.

“Mommy, am I gonna die from sickle cell if I don’t get my bone marrow transplant?” “No, honey, you will NOT die from sickle cell and we WILL get your match.” —Zahara talking to her mom, Kesha

Dianne "Lady Dee"

Last summer, Lady Dee was exercising 7 days a week, running her day spa and amazing everyone with her endless energy. Today, Lady Dee is fighting for her life against aplastic anemia. She needs a marrow transplant, but with few people of Nigerian heritage on the registry, finding a match is a huge challenge.

“It is so important to me to raise global awareness of this terrifying illness. I am now depending on every man, woman or child. My only hope is to find my 100% match.”

Get the Facts

• Marrow transplants can be life-saving treatments for blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and blood disorders like sickle cell disease or aplastic anemia.

• Heritage matters: Most patients in need of marrow transplants find their best donor match in someone who shares their ancestry.

• Just 7% of registered bone marrow donors in the U.S. are African American

• More than 1 in 3 African American patients can’t find a life-saving match.

• The blood cancer multiple myeloma strikes African Americans twice as frequently as Caucasians

• Multiple myeloma causes 3% of all cancer-related deaths among African Americans

• Approximately 1 in 500 African Americans are born with sickle cell disease

Donors Who Inspire Us

Evander

Yes, he’s the son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield, Sr. And he helped a young girl named Darien knock out cancer once and for all when he donated his blood stem cells. Evander didn’t set out to be a hero and even admits he registered to impress a girl. But when he got called as a match, he didn’t flinch.

“Donating feels good. It’s actually helping someone out there who’s dying. It’s a very important thing to do.”

Tamera

Tamera is afraid of needles, but didn’t hesitate to register as a bone marrow donor when she learned she could potentially save a life.

“We can be the change. We can help someone make more memories.”