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These MN swabs add to the total 100,000 Be The Match has donated for COVID-19 testing

April 23 2020

National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match®, the Minnesota-based non-profit entrusted to operate the national marrow donor registry to provide potential cures through bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients battling blood cancers and other blood disorders, is donating 35,000 swabs to the State of Minnesota for the COVID-19 response.

Be The Match is answering the call from Governor Walz, and in coordination with the State of Minnesota Emergency Operations Command (SEOC), Statewide Health Care Coalition (SHCC), and MMCAP Infuse who are working together to provide health care organizations with the supplies they need across the state.

These swabs add to the total 100,000 swabs Be The Match has donated throughout the United States and Mexico to answer the call of dwindling swab supplies in healthcare facilities that are desperately needed to test for COVID-19.

“We often call on our nation to help us save patients battling blood diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia, and we are eternally grateful to every person who has answered the call to help us facilitate life-saving blood stem cell transplants,” said Amy Ronneberg, Acting CEO of Be The Match. “Now, the swabs that we use to add donors to our registry can help the medical community during this pandemic. We are especially proud to be able to help our neighbors in Minnesota to aid in COVID-19 testing in our home state.”

The swabs, which Be The Match registry members use to swab their cheeks to register as potential donors, can work for testing for viruses as they have nylon tips, rather than the typical woven cotton. This makes them similar to the swabs typically used for COVID-19 testing and effective for testing purposes.

NMDP/Be The Match operates one of the largest repositories in the world, located in New Brighton, Minn. The repository houses more than 10 million tissue samples from potential marrow donors and receives about 30,000 new potential donor samples each month.

“It’s more critical than ever to work together to save lives”, said Jason Dehn, Be The Match’s Director of Laboratory and Biorepository Services. “We are fortunate to have enough swabs to continue our important work of adding people to the donor registry while also helping to fill a critical need for facilities offering COVID-19 testing.”

While new social distancing guidelines have changed how Be The Match recruits donors, its work to deliver bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants remains as critical as ever.

As Be The Match continues to add new donors to its registry, its leaders understand the need for organizations to work together to replenish essential medical supplies and has committed to do its part by offering swabs to medical facilities and labs in need of the approved materials.

So far, around 59,000 swabs have been dispensed to hospitals and labs at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, University of CA San Francisco in California, City of Hope in California, University of Miami in Florida, University of Massachusetts Medical Center and various public and private hospitals in Mexico distributed through our Be The Match Mexico offices.

For more information about blood stem cell donation and how you can join the donor registry, visit: or follow us on social at @BeTheMatch or

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 or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.