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A beacon of hope: Donna and Tiana’s story

Magic, that is one way to describe Donna and Tiana. They made history as the 100,000 donor-recipient match since Be The Match® began in 1987.

When Donna was diagnosed with myelofibrosis in 2017, doctors informed her she would need a stem cell transplant to help with treatment. As an African American woman, her chance of finding a match was only 29%.

Be The Match is working on increasing the odds for Black patients by recruiting more Black and African American donors.

Tiana joined the Be The Match Registry® back in 2015. She was inspired by her grandmother who was searching for a match for a kidney transplant at the time. Tiana did a simple cheek swab and when Be The Match gave her the call, she was all in.

“When it comes to donating to people in our community, we need more Black recipients, so we need more Black donors.” Tiana said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta.

That call was the saving grace for recipient Donna, describing her donor Tiana as light, hope and life. The pair were excited to meet each other after the one-year post-donation period, but the outbreak of COVID-19 stood in the way. When it was safe to meet in person, Donna and Tiana jumped at the chance to share that special moment. “I realize I can never repay her for what she’s done, but I can sure say thank you … I can say you are awesome a lot. I can say you are fabulous a lot. Black Girl Magic. You are it.” said Donna.

Together, they represent a milestone for Be The Match as the 100,000 donor-recipient match but also a beacon of hope and an example for searching patients and potential donors.