More than 100 people turned out for the marrow donor drive at Sandy Springs' Northside Hospital, last week.
The hospital held a Be The Match marrow registry event on June 19 for World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
Transplanting healthy marrow may be the best and only hope of a cure for life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and SCD, which affects about 90,000 to 100,000 Americans, an announcement said.
Most people do not have a match for bone marrow within their family, making volunteers crucial to helping those in need.
There’s been an increased awareness of the need for bone marrow donors since “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts announced that she will receive a bone marrow transplant from her sister.
Be The Match CEO, Jeffrey Chell, told the Chicago Sun Times that 15,000 people have registered since Robert’s announcement.
Operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match is the largest and most diverse registry of potential marrow donors and umbilical cord blood units in the world.
Many people came to the drive at Northside after hearing about Jamel Lockhart, a student at Georgia Perimeter College, who has Sickle Cell Anemia. Lockhart and his family spent time, last Tuesday, with volunteers, who came to join the bone marrow registry, alongside Valaria Fenderson, an 11-year-old from Atlanta, who is also looking for a match to help her overcome Sickle Cell Anemia.
Lockhart and Fenderson are both African American. Only 8 percent of the more than 10 million members of the Be The Match Registry are African American, decreasing their chances of finding a match. However, of the 104 people who joined the registry at Northside, last week, 83 were minorities.
"Through successful drives such as this one, we are raising awareness of need for more potential bone marrow donors, particularly minority donors," said Leslie Kerns, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Northside Hospital, in the press statement. "The larger the number of donors available through the registry, the greater the chance of finding a match for patients like Valaria and Jamel."