Be The Match Foundation, a national nonprofit that helps patients in need of a marrow transplant, announced today that Jiro Okochi, CEO and Co-founder of Reval, a global provider of financial risk management solutions, has joined its board of directors.
Okochi, an entrepreneur who co-founded and continues to lead a global company with more than 500 corporate clients, has a personal connection to the foundation’s mission. At a year old, Okochi’s youngest child needed a marrow transplant to survive. Today, his son is a healthy and active pre-schooler.
“We are so honored to welcome Jiro Okochi to the Be The Match Foundation Board of Directors. His business expertise and unique understanding of the patients we serve will be a tremendous asset to expand transplant science and help more families in need of a transplant,” said Christine Fleming, president of Be The Match Foundation.
Every year, 10,000 patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and 70 other life-threatening blood diseases need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant but have no donor match in their family. They depend on Be The Match® to help them find an unrelated donor and receive the transplant they need. For many, a marrow transplant is their best or only hope for a cure.
“I look forward to working with Be The Match, a world-wide organization that works hard to find donor matches for patients of all ethnic backgrounds—an important consideration because while many diseases know no boundaries, finding a perfectly matched donor requires recruitment from within ethnic communities,” Okochi said.
Okochi has sponsored many recruitment drives to add more potential marrow donors to Be The Match Registry®. At nine million strong, the registry is the world’s largest and most diverse listing of volunteer marrow donors and cord blood units. But more donors are needed to match all patients hoping for a transplant. As a Japanese American and the father of a multi-racial child, Mr. Okochi is keenly aware of the need for more diversity on the registry. The tissue types used for matching patients with donors are inherited, so patients are more likely to find a match within their own racial or ethnic heritage. Currently only three percent of potential donors on the registry are multi-racial.