Be The Match

Take your first step to being someone’s cure by joining our bone marrow registry.

Thousands of people are diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma - but a cure exists. Over the past 30 years Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. When you join the Be The Match Registry®, you become part of every patient's search for a bone marrow donor. Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell, and other life-threatening diseases need a bone marrow transplant. You could be the one to save a life.

Join Faithbridge as we seek to register hundreds of potential bone marrow donor matches for patients with blood cancer. Get tested and registered at our drive-thru testing center on BE THE MATCH Sunday, March 28 from 10am-4pm as part of our SHARE HOPE campaign.


Joining the Be The Match Registry is easy. You must meet these health guidelines and be willing to donate to any patient in need.

When you come to a donor registry event, we will explain what it means to join the registry, help you understand your commitment, answer your questions and help you through the process.

At the event, you'll create an online account with Be The Match, get your cheek swabbed, and have the opportunity to ask any questions you have.
To achieve our mission for all patients in need of a marrow transplant to have the best outcome possible, our focus in the community is to register donors ages 18-44. Research shows that younger donors are best for patients because they provide the greatest chance for transplant success. Doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group 85 percent of the time.
Not every member of the Be The Match Registry® goes on to donate for a patient. If you have donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), thank you for your generosity. On behalf of the patients and their family and friends, thank you. Your time and selflessness as a bone marrow or PBSC donor has made a significant difference in many lives.

At the time of your donation, you will be given detailed information about what to expect after donation, and who to contact if you have problems or questions.
More testing will be done to see if you are the best possible match for the patient. We may ask for another cheek swab or blood sample or we may be able to use a stored sample. Though almost all patient information is confidential, we can tell you the patient's age, gender and disease.

If the patient's doctor selects you as the best donor for the patient, we will schedule an information session so you can learn more about the donation process, risks and side effects. At that time, we can also tell you the type of donation the patient's doctor has requested — either bone marrow or cells collected from the blood, (PBSC) donation.
Doctors look for a donor who matches their patient's tissue type, specifically their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type. HLAs are proteins — or markers — found on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not. The closer the match between the patient's HLA markers and yours, the better for the patient.
On average, about 1 in 430 U.S. Be The Match Registry members will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to a patient. Because of the vast variation in tissue types, we can't predict an individual registry member's chance of donating to a patient. If you have a relatively common tissue type, you might be one of many who could match a searching patient. If you have an uncommon tissue type, you may never match a patient, or you might be the only one out of more than 22 million potential donors on the registry who can save a person's life. Every person who joins the registry gives patients more hope of finding the match they need. The most important thing you can do as a registry member is to stay informed and committed so that if you're selected as the best donor, you're ready to move forward.
You have the right to change your mind about being a donor at any time. Donating is always voluntary.

If you decide you do not want to donate, let us know right away. We will need to continue the search for another donor without dangerous — even life-threatening — delays for the patient.
Donating bone marrow is a surgical procedure done under general or regional anesthesia in a hospital. While a donor receives anesthesia, doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of the pelvic bone.

PBSC donation is a non-surgical procedure done in an outpatient clinic. PBSC donors receive daily injections of a drug called filgrastim for five days, to increase the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream. Then, through a process called apheresis, a donor's blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm.
When you join the registry, you agree to donate by whichever method is needed. The patient's doctor asks for either marrow or PBSC, depending on what is best for the patient.
Donors never pay for donating, and are never paid to donate.

All medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry®, or by the patient's medical insurance, as are travel expenses and other non-medical costs. The only costs to the donor might be time taken off from work.
Becoming a donor requires a time commitment. Before you donate, there are several steps to make sure you are the best donor for the patient. These steps include an information session to provide resources to help you make your decision, as well as appointments for additional blood tests and a physical exam. The time needed for the actual donation depends on the donation procedure.

The typical time commitment for the donation process is 20-30 hours of your time spread out over a four-to-six-week period. This does not include travel time, which is defined by air travel and staying overnight in a hotel. Nearly 40% of donors will travel during the donation process. Marrow and PBSC donation require about the same total time commitment.
We have extensive contacts with health care organizations and medical professionals who are experts in bone marrow and blood cell transplants and medical care. We will work with them to help find care for complications related to donation. If you are on the Be The Match Registry and you donated through Be The Match, you will be covered by a donor life, disability and medical insurance policy for complications directly related to the donation.
Marrow donation is a surgical procedure that takes place in an operating room. The donation will be scheduled at a hospital that partners with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). In some cases, the hospital may be near your home. In other cases, you may be asked to travel. We will guide you through the process and be available the day of your marrow donation.

  • Hospital Stay: You will arrive at the hospital outpatient facility on the day of the donation. You will stay in the hospital usually from early morning to late afternoon, though some hospitals routinely plan for an overnight hospital stay.
  • Anesthesia: You will be given anesthesia to block the pain during the marrow donation. If general anesthesia is used, you will be unconscious during the donation. If you receive regional anesthesia (either spinal or epidural), medication will block sensation in the affected area, but you will remain aware of your surroundings. General anesthesia is used for about 96% of NMDP marrow donors. The average time of anesthesia is less than 2 hours.
  • Donation: During the marrow donation, you will be lying on your stomach. While the donation varies slightly from hospital to hospital, generally, the doctors use special, hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow (where blood-forming cells are made) from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone. The incisions are less than one-fourth inch long and do not require stitches.
  • Recovery: Hospital staff will watch you closely until the anesthesia wears off, and continue to monitor your condition afterwards. Most donors go home the same day or the next morning. After you leave the hospital, we will contact you on a regular basis to ask about your physical condition and any side effects you are experiencing.
Marrow donation is done under general or regional anesthesia so the donor experiences no pain during the collection procedure.

Discomfort and side effects vary from person to person. Most marrow donors experience some side effects after donation. Common side effects of marrow donation include:

  • Back or hip pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Bruising at the incision site

Some donors said the experience was more painful than they expected; others said it was less painful. Some donors describe the pain as similar to achy hip bones or falling on their buttocks. Others say it feels more like a strained muscle in the back. The ache may last a few days to several weeks.
We want to assure donor safety, but no medical procedure is risk-free. The majority of donors from the Be The Match Registry feel completely recovered within a few weeks. A small percentage (2.4%) of donors experience a serious complication due to anesthesia or damage to bone, nerve or muscle in their hip region.

The risk of side effects of anesthesia during marrow donation is similar to that during other surgical procedures. Serious side effects of anesthesia are rare. Common side effects of general anesthesia include sore throat (caused by the breathing tube) or mild nausea and vomiting. Common side effects of regional anesthesia are a decrease in blood pressure and a headache after the procedure.

We take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of the donor.
The amount of marrow donated will not weaken your own body or immune system. The average amount of marrow and blood donated is about one quart, less if the patient is a baby or child. This is only a fraction of your total marrow. Most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days, and your marrow naturally replaces itself within four to six weeks.
Marrow donation is a surgical procedure that takes place in an operating room. The donation will be scheduled at a hospital that works with the NMDP. In some cases, the hospital may be near your home. In other cases, you may be asked to travel.
If your recipient's transplant center is in the U.S., your donor center should be able to give you a brief update about your recipient's condition around these times:

  • 9 months after transplant
  • 12 months after transplant
  • 18 months after transplant
  • 30 months after transplant

However, each country has different rules about giving updates. If your recipient is at a transplant center in another country, you may never receive an update (or updates) on your recipient.

During the first year after transplant, some centers allow anonymous communication between you and your recipient.

Some centers allow direct contact between donors and recipients one or more years after the transplant, if both you and your recipient consent. Some centers do not allow you to have contact with your recipient at any time.
While transplantation is a life-saving therapy, not all recipients survive. Sometimes a patient's body cannot withstand the pre-transplant chemotherapy and radiation. Sometimes health complications occur after the transplant.

But for many recipients, a transplant is successful and their best or only option. Your gift gives them hope and a second chance at life.

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Faithbridge Church
18000 Stuebner Airline Rd
Spring, TX 77379

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