We have gotten many generous and gracious offers and suggestions for donating stem cells. Like you, it makes sense, at least from our rudimentary knowledge of genetics, that a similar heritage leads to more possible matches. But turns out, there are still so many variants that a good match is still very very difficult to find. Testing to see if it might match Shann’s typing would have to be done by a private lab, at a cost of about $250 per test. We’re told, that even if your heritage is similar, that having the exact genetic variants to help Shann, are slim. Shann has a rare allele called HL_DRE3 , and this is the one that is hard to match. They are doing some further testing on Mariya and Elena (who are not good matches) to investigate this allele and its properties further.
So the bottom-line is basic: Here is the web site with all the information.
‘Be the Match’ http://marrow.org/Home.aspx
It is set up for people to become stem cell donors in a world-wide stem cell bank. It is a great thing for anyone who wants to be a stem cell donor to get on this registry, with the knowledge that they are offering to donate stem cells for a person in need anywhere in the world.
Given what we now know about the world of stem cell transplants, we would like to again encourage anyone over 18 and under 45ish+- to sign up as a potential donor (especially if you are of mixed African/American, native American or Hispanic blood lines; because those groups have very low donation rates). It costs you nothing; it’s simple and easy, and it could well save a person’s life. Also a good time to remind ourselves that giving blood is a gift of strength and life, from you to someone who needs it. Finally, donating or asking your pregnant friends to donate the umbilical cord from their successful birthing can provide life sustaining blood cells for those without good stem cell matches.
The main thing now is to thank those of you who have asked and been willing to donate stem cells, especially on the possibility that your similar heritage could make a difference. It is deeply appreciated and the best thing you could do is to get on the Be the Match Registry, if that idea moves you. Thank you.