Family 2 Family

Be the Match needs more African American donors to save lives

ATLANTA — More than 70 different diseases can be cured with a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, according to the nonprofit Be the Match.

The nonprofit maintains the national bone marrow and stem cell registry.

Advocates want to get the word out that a simple cheek swab could save a life.

“We are literally the cure for saving our community,” said Community Outreach Manager Shakeira Wesley.

Wesley says patients are most likely to match with someone who shares the same ethnic background. Unfortunately, out of 20 million potential donors, only 4% are African American.

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According to the nonprofit, that means white patients have a 77% chance of finding a match in the registry, while the number drops to 23% for African American patients.

“We are here in Atlanta pushing the message that we want to get rid of that disparity,” said Wesley.

The coronavirus outbreak stopped in-person testing for now, so Be the Match is offering tests by mail.

The nonprofit will send you a cheek-swabbing kit with free postage to mail back.

Click here to find out if you could be someone’s lifesaving match.