Walela, searching patient, mobile

My name is Walela.

Patients like me need your help.

Walela’s 1 in 22 million match

Walela, searching patient, hand

Meet Walela, a 26-year-old writer, community organizer, and cultural worker. Walela is non-binary (they/them), queer, and Black – giving them a strong, unique voice for communities that are too often marginalized. They are also a leukemia warrior.

Walela has spent the past year waiting for a matching donor to be found so they could receive a blood stem cell transplant and ensure they can continue being a voice for change.

“I am dedicated to societal change. I cannot continue to fulfill my purpose if I am not here.”

Walela, searching patient

In 2019, after finding out Walela was no longer responding to consecutive oral chemotherapies, Walela’s doctors conducted a search to find them a blood stem cell donor. Out of the 22 million people on the Be The Match Registry®, just one person was identified as a suitable match. That individual was unable to move forward with donation, and Walela continued their plea to supporters to help them find a match.

Walela’s efforts among their community of supporters, led 6,000 people to join the Be The Match Registry. In November 2020 – a second matching donor was found, and said “YES” to helping Walela on the path to find their cure. Still, Walela does not want to stop their advocacy to help more patients of color find a matching donor.

The disparity on the registry is heartbreaking – and it’s costing Black patients their lives. Of the 22 million potential donors on the registry, only 4% are Black or African-American. As a result, Black patients only have a 23% chance of finding a match compared to a 77% chance for White patients. Let’s honor Walela’s incredible efforts and work together to continue to change this disparity.

Thousands of patients battling blood cancers and blood diseases like Walela need you to sign up to give them a second chance at life. Join today.

Odds of finding a match based on ethnic background

Likelihood of finding a match

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About Be The Match®

For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant. ​ Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research through its research program, CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.