Be The Match On Campus is a national program that targets minority students attending colleges and universities around the country to add more people who fall in the 18-24 year age range to the registry. This initiative will focus on recruiting minority students from 35 main colleges and universities in Southern California. Why College Students (18-24)? Research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants because younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors. Why Minorities? The chances of finding a matching donor vary widely based on genetic tissue types and minorities are particularly at risk. Racially and ethnically diverse groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, and multiracial individuals have more genetic diversity in their tissue types, and this complexity can make it harder to find suitable donors. Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone who shares their racial and ethnic heritage. Although access to transplant is improving significantly, with the NMDP facilitating more than twice as many transplants for minorities than it did just five years ago, there are still patients who are denied access to treatment because a matching donor cannot be found. For multiracial patients, the chances of finding a match are significantly reduced. The genetic combinations are staggering, and only 3% of the donors on the registry self-identify as mixed race. Our criteria for success is to ensure that we have recruited healthy individuals between the ages of 18-24 Southern California universities who are well educated about the marrow donation process, understand what they are committing to, and are indeed committed to donating if matched with a patient. Together, Be The Match Foundation and the NMDP are the world’s leader in connecting patients in need with compassionate and generous donors who are willing to volunteer their time and cells to save a life.
Funded by Los Angeles, CA (October 2012)