Get Well Wednesday: Why African-Americans Need Bone Marrow Donors

Get Well Wednesday: Why African-Americans Need Bone Marrow Donors

Too  many African-Americans languish on bone marrow donor lists because there are fewer African-American donors. For 8-year-old  Darian Smith, that deficiency is a life or death issue. Darian is on the donor list, hoping to find a match, but only if more African-Americans would consider becoming donors.

Darian and his doctor, Alecia Nero, hope that African-American will consider becoming bone marrow donors. One of the common diseases that require bone marrow donors is sickle-cell, a disease that impacts them exclusively.

Darian Smith’s Story:

  • Darian Smith was diagnosed with sickle-cell disease when he was only two weeks old.
  • A bone marrow transplant is the only known cure for sickle-cell disease, which largely affects the African-American population. Approximately 1 in every 365 black children is born with the disease.
  • Since the search for a donor began, two matches have been identified but unfortunately, both were unavailable to donate.
  • Darian’s family has teamed up with DKMS, the nonprofit leading the fight against blood cancer, to find his lifesaving match and urge individuals to join the registry.
  • DKMS is an international non-profit that recruits bone marrow donors to provide a second chance at life and raise funds to match donor registration costs.
  • Approximately every 3 minutes, a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder.
  • More than 170,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood cancer each year.

70% of blood cancer patients in need of a bone marrow transplant must rely on someone from the national registry as a match.

12,000 new searches for transplants are initiated every year.

 Unfortunately, Darian’s background makes it more difficult to find a match.

While patients find the best match in those who share the same ancestry, minorities are severely underrepresented in the bone marrow registry, greatly reducing their odds of finding a match.

African-Americans,  for example, make up only 7% of the donor registry pool.

There is an urgent need for minorities to join the bone marrow registry to help save patients like Darian, who desperately want to live a “normal kid’s life.” All it takes to register a simple swab of the cheek.

 Registering as a DKMS Donor Is Easy:

One simple swab is all it takes to be a potential lifesaver.

 Registering as a bone marrow donor through DKMS is a very simple process:

§he donor journey begins with a swab of the cheek that takes less than 60 seconds and can be the action that leads to a lifesaving transplant.

This can be done at a drive, or by registering online at

 Anyone in good general health who is between the ages of 18-55 can register.

You can also visit Darian’s virtual DKMS donor drive to register:

 Globally, DKMS has registered more than 8 million people.




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