Skip Navigation

A story born of love for a child

When their 10-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with leukemia, Robert Graves, D.V.M., and his wife Sherry were ready to do anything they could to save her. Desperate to save her life they turned to alternative treatment options and agreed to try the first ever bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.

Laura received her transplant in 1979. And it worked. The success of the treatment inspired the Graves to give other families the same hope for a cure. Thanks to Dr. Graves, other patient families, doctors, congressional support and funding from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow was born.

Our first 10,000 blood donors step forward

Many people wondered who would step forward to donate marrow. Within the first year the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry (as we were called then) was established, an astonishing 10,000 people answered the call. We conducted our first transplant as the National Marrow Donor Program® in 1987 when Diane Walters of Wisconsin donated marrow to 6-year-old Brooke Ward of North Carolina. It wasn’t long before the program took off worldwide from a tiny office at the American Red Cross in St. Paul, Minn.

Transplant becomes a reality for more patients

Beyond establishing the registry, we also invested in medical research to find the answers that would save the lives of more patients.

  • 1990 - Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Dr. E. Donnell Thomas for discoveries in cellular transplantation
  • 1994 - First peripheral blood stem cell collected for use in unrelated transplants
  • 1998 - Launched cord blood program
  • 2001 - Built the NMDP Repository, one of the world’s largest tissue sample storage facilities used for medical research
  • 2004 - Partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin to create the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research® (CIBMTR), our research arm. 

Leading the way in transplants – now and into the future

Today we have facilitated more than 61,000 marrow and cord blood transplants and nearly 6,300 transplants a year to give patients hope for a future.

As the recognized leader in unrelated marrow transplantation, Be The Match continues to develop services and interactive technologies used by transplant experts around the world to reach more patients.

We also continue to lead the way in developing new cellular therapies, in advancing services to speed the transplant process and improving treatments for post-transplant complications. We invest in dedicated researchers whose countless hours in the lab and caring for patients have helped more patients than ever before receive a transplant.

Patients are counting on you

Michelle and Ava - Donor
Learn how we support patients before, during and after transplant.

We have facilitated more than 61,000 marrow and cord blood transplants, which is an average of more than 520 transplants a month. Each day we give 17 patients hope for a future.

We also continue to lead the way in developing new cellular therapies, in advancing services to speed the transplant process and improving treatments for post-transplant complications. We invest in dedicated researchers whose countless hours in the lab and caring for patients have helped more patients than ever before receive a transplant.

The cure for blood cancer is in the hands of ordinary people. Join our cause. You could be the cure.