Large waiting list for bone marrow transplants - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Large waiting list for bone marrow transplants

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There are more than 18,000 people waiting for a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, something that could save their lives. There are 11 million people on the registry waiting to help, but less than half will get the chance.

Josh McKenna is "be that match's" newest intern.

"The orientation stage takes about a week, week and a half I guess," said McKenna.

While Josh may be new to the office, he's no stranger to their mission. He himself is a donor. His reason is a very personal one.

"My father had mantel cell lymphoma," said McKenna.

While he's in remission now for a while there his dad was dangerously close to needing a bone marrow transplant.

"Watching how hard it was and how it was his last shot at life kind of thing, and watching some of my friends whose parents have died because they didn't get a transplant," said McKenna.

With that in mind, Josh didn't think twice about donating.

"How this has brought life to some and taken life from others. Anything that's that important i'm absolutely going to take the opportunity," said McKenna.

Lindsey Crawford, the local be-the-match recruiter wishes more people thought like that, especially because it's hard to find that perfect match and the more people in the registry the greater chance a match can be made.

"To give you an idea of how hard the matching process is, right now there are 18,000 people who need bone marrow or stem cells. Even though there are 11 million people in the registry willing to donate only 40 percent of those in need will ever find a match and if you're a minority, the chances are even smaller because there are fewer minorities who've signed up to be potential donors," said Crawford.

Regardless of your race, the donation process is the same and it's not as painful as you probably think.

in fact, most of the time, you'll just be giving stem cells which doesn't require surgery.

"It's just like giving plasma and then 20 percent of the time they do decide to get your bone marrow, but even then it's done through the hip and you get anesthesia so you don't feel any pain," said Crawford.

For more information bone marrow transplants click here.

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