STEP UP WITH T-BOZ TO SAVE A LIFE
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins rose to fame as an actress, singer and member of the 90's musical group TLC -- all while quietly battling sickle cell disease. Now, she lends her famous voice to encourage people to join Be The Match Registry(R) as potential bone marrow donors.
Watkins has partnered with Be The Match on two public service announcements. The PSAs hit the airwaves and the Internet in July, which is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Donor registry drives will also take place nationwide throughout the month.
DISPELLING MYTHS ABOUT BONE MARROW DONATION
"As a person with sickle cell disease and an advocate for everyone fighting this disease, I was naturally drawn to Be The Match," Watkins said. "Unfortunately, myths about bone marrow donation keep many people from joining the Be The Match Registry and potentially saving a life. That is why I am passionate about encouraging everyone to learn the facts about bone marrow donation through these PSAs. We need more African Americans to step up."
A bone marrow transplant can be a cure for someone with sickle cell disease or other illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma. Most patients who need transplants do not have a match in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match. Get the facts about donating.
AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE A HARDER TIME FINDING A MATCH
But many African Americans and other minorities can't find marrow donors, like Imani Cornelius, of Minneapolis. Imani was recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and her only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Her doctors continue to search the Be The Match Registry for a matching donor, but that search has not been easy as Imani is biracial.
Right now, the chance of finding a match on the Be The Match Registry is close to 93 percent for Caucasians, but for African Americans and other minorities, the chances can be as low as 66 percent.
The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients are most likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. There are 9 million people on the Be The Match Registry, but only 7 percent are African American.
While the number of transplants that the NMDP facilitates for African American patients has doubled since 2004, more people of African American descent are urgently needed on the Be The Match Registry so that more lives can be saved.
Learn more about how you can join the Be The Match registry today!