April 07, 2009
A vital need for more support has one of the nation's largest health care nonprofits, the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), taking a new approach to engaging the public in its life-saving mission, which includes a new name for its donor and umbilical cord blood registry - Be The MatchSM.
The NMDP relies on people across communities to help save the lives of critically ill people around the world. But independent market research shows that low awareness of the 21-year-old organization is impeding efforts to support the thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases who need an unrelated bone marrow or cord blood transplant.
"Be The Match is a call to action. You could be the one to save a life is the simple and powerful truth encompassed by the new name of our registry," said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer, NMDP. "As medical advances are making transplants available to more patients of all ages than ever before, we need everyone to step forward. We need people to join the Be The Match RegistrySM, donate cord blood, make a financial contribution and volunteer."
Seventy percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match - and a second chance at life.
While many patients do find the life-saving match they need each year, more donors are needed, especially those from racially and ethnically diverse communities.
"I will never regret in my life joining that registry - never regret it!" says Jackie Byrd, donor to 12-year-old Paizley, who had sickle cell anemia. "You can do good things while you're on earth, and things to help people live longer on earth."
By attracting widespread attention to the cause, Be The Match will help expand the registry of adult donors and cord blood units and deepen the commitment of new and existing members.
"We want people to know they have the power to help a little girl waiting for a transplant who dreams of being a ballerina, or a young father who wants to be there for his child's first birthday," added Chell.
Be The Match FoundationSM
In addition to growing the registry, Be The Match will recruit volunteers and raise money through the Be The Match Foundation (formerly The Marrow Foundation), the NMDP's fundraising partner.
"Gifts to Be The Match Foundation make life-saving transplants a reality for patients," said Christine Fleming, foundation president. "Financial contributions help add new members to the registry, provide financial assistance to patients who need it, and help improve the quality of life for patients through scientific research."
Development and Launch of Be The Match
The NMDP conducted extensive research to gain a better understanding of the general awareness of the organization and the public's willingness to help patients in need.
Based on these research insights, Be The Match was developed to better engage the public. The Be The Match logo was designed with the patient at its center and represents the coming together of many, including health care professionals, donors, financial contributors and volunteers, to support patients.
The launch of Be The Match will include national and local public outreach efforts including events, targeted advertising, social media activities and a redesigned Web site (www.BeTheMatch.org).
As part of the launch, the NMDP will also increase communications with registry members to help build a greater sense of community, participation and purpose.
The National Marrow Donor Program will remain the name for the organization that operates the Be The Match Registry and partners with a global network of leading hospitals, blood centers, cord blood banks, laboratories and recruiters. As a leader in the field of bone marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP will continue to facilitate transplants worldwide, conduct research to improve survival and quality of life, and provide education and support services to health care professionals and patients.
How to Get Involved
Visit BeTheMatch.org to learn more about the many ways to get involved. There are several ways to help support patients:
Since 1987, the NMDP has provided more than 35,000 unrelated transplants to help give patients a second chance at life. Today, the NMDP facilitates more than 4,300 transplants a year.