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Company helps raise awareness of challenges for African American patients in need of bone marrow transplants

February 01 2011

Nordstrom, Inc. announced today that it is recognizing Black History Month in 2011 by teaming up with Be The Match® to help raise awareness of the critical need for more African American marrow and umbilical cord blood donors.
As part of its “Living Well” initiative, Nordstrom is giving people an easy way to learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor and helping increase the likelihood that patients in need of marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants can receive them.

According to Be The Match, more than 10,000 U.S. patients are diagnosed with diseases like sickle cell anemia and leukemia every year, and their best or only hope of a cure is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. These patients do not have a donor match in their family, and rely on the Be The Match Registry® to find a match. Patients are more likely to match a donor from their own race or ethnicity, but just seven percent of the Be The Match Registry’s 9 million members are African American.

A new website,, provides an opportunity for visitors to take action and learn more. For every person who joins the Be The Match Registry as a potential marrow donor via the site from February 1 through February 28, Nordstrom will cover the $100 cost of adding a new member to the registry, up to $75,000.

“We recognize that our customers and employees come from diverse backgrounds, and we want to celebrate that,” said Amelia Ransom Letcher, vice president of Diversity Affairs at Nordstrom. “Health and education have long been focus areas for our community support efforts so working closely with Be The Match and helping provide opportunities for the public to help save the lives of those affected by leukemia and other diseases is something we are honored to be a part of.”

Nordstrom is also spreading the word about the initiative via signs in its stores, its catalogues and by sharing information with its Twitter and Facebook followers.

“We want to thank Nordstrom for bringing widespread attention to the need for more African Americans on the Be The Match Registry, so that more lives can be saved,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry. “The number of patients receiving bone marrow and cord blood transplants is growing every year. Now, more than ever before, we need people to get involved to ensure that all patients can receive the life-saving treatment they need.”

To join the Be The Match Registry, people need to be between the ages of 18-60, willing to donate to any patient in need and meet health guidelines.

For more information about Nordstrom’s approach to recognizing Black History Month and other heritage months throughout 2011, please visit