September 19, 2008
Although the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" is already underway, four-time champion Jeff Gordon stepped away from his on-track duties earlier today to visit Capitol Hill. Gordon met with key lawmakers, including the House of Representatives North Carolina delegation, to urge their continued support of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
The NMDP, a nonprofit organization, serves a vital role in the U.S. health care system by facilitating unrelated marrow and cord blood transplants to treat patients with more than 70 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia.
"I have watched some very good friends battle leukemia who were not able to find a match. Their struggle has made me more passionate about and committed to increasing awareness about public cord blood banking and the work of the NMDP," said Gordon.
Gordon is a longtime advocate for the NMDP and board member of its fundraising partner, The Marrow Foundation. Through the Jeff Gordon Foundation, he has advocated for the NMDP and the need for Congress to support the use of publicly donated umbilical cord blood to save the lives of patients with life-threatening diseases who need a transplant.
"I was honored to meet with NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon today to discuss The Marrow Foundation and the NMDP - two important charities that are supported by the Jeff Gordon Foundation," said Congressman Robin Hayes (NC-08). "These charities are dedicated to supporting the physical, social and intellectual needs that many children, adults and their families face when diagnosed with a blood disorder. I look forward to working with The Jeff Gordon Foundation and learning more about NMDP and The Marrow Foundation in the future."
Each year, more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that can only be cured with a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor; they are among the 70 percent of patients who do not have a matched donor in their family. Patients and physicians can turn to the NMDP to identify matching cord blood units, as well as adult donors for bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, when a family donor is not available.
"The NMDP represents a tremendous success story due in large part to the wisdom of Congress and the altruism of the American people. As a result, the NMDP operates the largest, most successful Registry in the world," said Dr. Jeffery W. Chell, chief executive officer of the NMDP. "We need Congress to continue its support of public cord blood banking to maintain the great progress we've achieved. We are thankful to Jeff Gordon for his heartfelt contribution to our efforts."
Over the past 10 years, Gordon and The Jeff Gordon Foundation have worked with the NMDP and the Hendrick Marrow Program to support donor recruitment, advocacy programs and patient assistance programming.
About the National Marrow Donor Program The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is a not-for-profit organization that operates the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, which was created by Congress to act as the single point of access for a long-standing collaborative network of national and international leading medical facilities in marrow and cord blood transplantation. With its research partner, the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), the NMDP also collects and analyzes marrow and cord blood transplant outcomes data to help improve transplants for patients. In its 20-year history, the NMDP has facilitated more than 30,000 transplants.