Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm a Swabbie

One of the things I did in Atlanta was become a swabbie. Suzanne Brockmann had talked about a SEAL named Justin who is in need of bone marrow. (Click here for the full scoop.) Unfortunately, his relatives are not matches.

I used to donate blood. Then they went and changed the rules so that people who had been in Europe in the 1990's (as I have) became ineligible. (There is no test for CJS, the human version of what they call mad cow.) For me, giving blood had been a relatively easy way to help others. Well, the military has a similar program, but they have different restrictions. As one person pointed out, a lot of service people were in Europe in the 1990's also. I have no idea if that is why they don't have that restriction. They have these packets with big Q-tip-like things - you know, swabbies. You swab the four corners of your mouth, seal it up and you're done.

Of particular need, are people who are of monority or multiple racial or ethnic backgrounds. People's tissue types are inherited and can contain certain markers that occur most often in people of similar racial or ethnic groups. Please consider putting yourself on the registry. Even if you aren't a match for Justin, there are plenty of other people who are in need of blood, marrow or other products. There is also a civilian bone marrow donation program, if you feel like going crazy - the National Bone Marrow Donor Program.