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How to honor Blood Cancers Awareness Month in Kansas City

By becoming a bone marrow or blood stem cell donor, you can help those battling a blood cancer or disease who may not have other treatment options.

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Levi and his partner smiling

After joining the registry seven years ago, Levi was finally flagged as a donor match in 2022.

Photo courtesy of Levi Korneli

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Did you know? Every three minutes, someone in the US is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or sickle cell.

Expert treatment close to home

As an academic medical center and a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers the latest techniques and treatments — like blood and marrow transplants — to help patients fight cancer and reduce side effects.

Their team of BMT and cellular therapeutic specialists have performed thousands of stem cell transplants — they’re the region’s largest and most experienced BMT program.

A best-in-the-world registry that saves lives

For every 12,000 patients diagnosed with blood cancers each year, just 30% have a fully matched relative who could donate marrow.

This is why the cancer center partners with Be The Match Registry, which matches blood and marrow donors to patients in need, so critical to saving lives and improving outcomes. It’s the most diverse marrow registry in the world.

Are you a match?

If you’re between the ages of 18-40, you can join the Be The Match Registry and potentially save a life.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Join the Be The Match Registry. Donors must meet specific medical requirements (including general health restrictions) to be eligible.
  2. Swabbing your cheek is the first step in becoming a potential lifesaver. Donors receive a cheek cell swab to determine their tissue type, which is then stored in the registry (Note: The swab is not part of the actual donation).
  3. If you’re a match, the Be The Match team will contact you for more information about the two ways you can donate. About 90% of donations are done through peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is a non-surgical procedure to collect blood-forming cells for transplants.

If you need a stem cell transplant, you’re not responsible for finding your own donor. If you require a matching donor for BMT, your transplant team at The University of Kansas Cancer Center will find a donor for you, whether that’s from a sibling or from someone on the registry — like donor Levi Korneli. After being contacted by the registry, Levi traveled from Chicago to Kansas City in a selfless act to help change someone’s life. Bonus: Be The Match covers all expenses, which means it’s completely free to donate.

Learn more below or by texting “KUCC” TO 61474. Become a BMT donor.

Be The Match by the numbers

  • 41 million. The number of potential donors Be The Match provides access to for every donor search.
  • 7,054. The number of lives impacted through cellular therapy in 2022.
  • 125,000+. The number of lives Be The Match has impacted since 1987.
  • Odds of finding a match: Black or African American: 29%; Asian or Pacific Islander: 47%; Hispanic or Latino: 48%; Native American: 60%; White: 79%. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans have a lesser chance of finding a match, so more donors from these groups are needed in the donor pool to help a wider population.

Quiz

Can you identify the myth about becoming a blood or marrow donor? Take a guess here.

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