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April 11 2019

We are deeply saddened that a person who stepped forward to donate marrow has passed away, and we have been in contact with the family to offer our sympathies and support during this time. Marrow donation is a selfless act that helps save the lives of thousands of cancer patients each year. 

While privacy and confidentiality requirements prevent us from commenting on this specific case, we can share that donor safety is paramount and complications during the donation process are extremely rare.

We understand you may have some questions. Information that we are able to share is included below. 
How do you ensure donor safety?
The safety of our donors is of utmost importance. The process of donating marrow or peripheral blood stem cells is a medical procedure, and no procedure is risk-free. However, more than 99 percent of donors experience a full recovery. 

All donors undergo a comprehensive medical history and physical examination by a licensed medical provider prior to donation. Donations are completed at accredited medical facilities. Be The Match® also has processes in place to continue its focus on donor safety, including documentation and review of any donation-related complications.

Has this ever happened in a transplant facilitated by Be The Match before?
No, and we have facilitated nearly 100,000 transplants over 32 years. The process of donating marrow or peripheral blood stem cells is a medical procedure, and no procedure is risk free. It is important to know that complications from blood stem cell donations are exceedingly rare.

What support do you offer donors and families who experience complications?
The well-being of our donors and their families during these times is our priority. We work with donors and their families to cover lost wages and medical costs associated with their post-donation care. We also offer one-on-one donor assistance and support through our Donor Advocacy Program.

What happened to the recipient of the marrow donation?
We are unable to share details about the status of donations or potential matches due to privacy and confidentiality obligations. What we can tell you is that, as soon as we were made aware of the complications with this donation, we quickly began working with the transplant center on additional donor options for the patient.

Will this discourage people from joining the registry and donating if called?
We hope not, and we greatly appreciate the more than 20 million people on the registry who have signed up to save a life. Over 32 years, we have facilitated nearly 100,000 donations and transplants. Complications from blood stem cell donation are exceedingly rare. As with any medical procedure there are risks involved, but complications are rare.