The World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) initiated a new movement to spread awareness and to give thanks to all donors by celebrating each third Saturday in September with World Marrow Donor Day, according to Gift of Life. This honorary day comes on the heels of an announcement from the WMDA and the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) organizations that a record 25 million people worldwide are on the list of potential marrow donors. Gift of Life will be hosting a donor drive in the United States in celebration of the day.
College students from over 100 campuses across the country have the lofty goal of registering 1,000 donors on this day.
CEO and Founder of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation Jay Feinberg is no stranger to the disease. “As a 20-year bone marrow transplant survivor myself, I can think of no greater gift one human being can give to another than the gift of life,” he said. “It only takes one person to save a life, and it could be any one of us. I encourage everyone, everywhere to help us cure blood cancer through marrow donation.”
It is very easy to become a possible marrow donor, according to Forbes contributor Judy Stone. “It just involves a swab of the inside of your cheek, which is then sent off for genetic testing,” she writes. “No pain. No cost.”
Each year, Forbes writes, there are 20,000 cases of lymphoma, leukemia, and other sickle cell diseases that could be cured with a bone marrow or cord blood transplant in the United States alone. There is only about a 30% chance that a donor is found through a family member, so more donors is critical to the survival rate of those with these blood diseases.
In 2014, there were only 6,300 transplants performed. An estimated 1,000 people die every year due to lack of a donor.