501st CSW medical squadrons recruit bone marrow donors

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Alexis McGee
  • 501st CSW Public Affairs
The 422nd and 423rd Medical Squadrons are scheduled to host bone marrow registry drives this week to recruit and enroll DOD members into the national bone marrow donor registry.

Members of the medical squadrons hope to increase the size and diversity of the national registry.

"There are 30,000 people each year who are diagnosed with leukemia or other fatal blood diseases," said TSgt Robert Murray, 423rd Medical Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of laboratory services. "These people are in desperate need of a bone marrow or stem cell donation."

Murray said bone marrow types are hereditary, so the ideal donors for people needing bone marrow are family members, but 70% of the 30,000 people needing a donation cannot find matching related donors and must find unrelated donors through the national marrow donor registry.

Among RAF Alconbury, RAF Molesworth and RAF Croughton, the medical squadrons are hoping to add 500 or more donors to the registry.

"The program sets up potential donors with people who have various blood diseases and need  marrow or stem cell donations, but cannot find matches through their families," said Murray. "By adding their names to the registry, people are doing a completely selfless act and have the potential to save lives."

Interested individuals are asked to visit the following locations
· RAF Alconbury clinic laboratory from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23-27
· RAF Croughton clinic laboratory from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23-27
· RAF Molesworth chapel annex from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 26
· RAF Alconbury commissary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28.
· RAF Croughton commissary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28.

Potential donors will be asked to fill out forms regarding their current health history and the medical teams will take four cheek swabs to collect DNA.

"Even though thousands of donors are added to the registry each year, it is still far and few between when matches are made," said Murray. "There was an Army captain who joined the registry while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. Since then, he has had the chance to donate twice to two separate individuals. Donors must be perfect matches to donate, so to be able to help two different individuals is rare, but very rewarding."

Contact the 423rd MDS laboratory at DSN 268-4590 for more information, or visit www.salutetolife.org.