Join the bone marrow registry; save this man's life

Last year, Lawrence held a bone marrow drive to help save a local doctor's life.

I couldn't help but think of that as I was working with this story out of New York of a man who needs a bone marrow match and has incredibly low odds of finding one. While Lawrence's Dr. Rod Barnes is in an ethnic group that comprises a large portion of the registry, Amit Gupta's most likely matches make up less than one percent of the national bone marrow registry. And so far, none of them will match Gupta.

When he was diagnosed with leukemia, it seemed like a death sentence. But his friends are trying to use social media to get more people registered to be bone marrow donors and find that one person who could be the donor Gupta needs. One man has even offered up $10,000 to anyone who registers and is a match — whether they donate or not.

Anyway, full disclosure, the article I linked to here goes to my current employer. If you didn't hear, I left Lawrence a few weeks ago for a new job at Public Radio International. But as I was working with this story this morning, I couldn't help but think of how the Lawrence community rallied around Barnes in an effort to find his match.

I thought maybe they could help this man as well. And besides, even Mario Chalmers wants you to register.

Tagged: bone marrow registry, leukemia, cancer


broadpaw 7 years ago

Any idea if registration clinics are a regular (e.g. annual) occurrence? I'd like to register.

Jonathan Kealing 7 years ago

Unfortunately, I don't know. You might start with a call to LMH or the Lawrence Douglas County Health Department to see if they have one coming up. Or maybe Belinda or Lisa will see this and give us all an answer!

Marilyn Hull 7 years ago

What ethnic background has the highest likelyhood of a match? I could guess, but would rather here from you.

Jonathan Kealing 7 years ago

He's South Indian, so they're going through all of the hospitals in India looking for matches, but unfortunately India has no national database, so it's hard to find that needle in the haystack. Anyone of South Asian descent has the highest likelihood of being a match. I'm not a doctor though, so unfortunately I don't know how often there are matches across race and ethincities.

Jonathan Kealing 7 years ago

One other thing. Even if you're not likely to match him, it's worth pointing out there are a ton of people of every race and national origin still out there, waiting for their match!

Laura Herring 7 years ago

I'm a registered marrow donor. I registered when I was in college and donating blood at my school's annual homecoming drive and the national registry had a table set up to take donors. All it took was signing a consent form and submitting a cheek swab. If you can't find a registry in person you can request a swab kit online (my sister registered this way) and one will be sent to you that you complete and return. Here's the link:

Ali Edwards 7 years ago

You can register to be a marrow donor here:

I didn't click all the way through the registration because I'm already registered, but this looks like a really easy way to do it. I'm curious as to how they do the cheek swabs, though. Any brave volunteers want to find out?

Laura Herring 7 years ago

I did a cheek swab when I registered and it's just what it sounds like, the techs (or you if you're doing it by mail) stick a long swab, like a Q-Tip on steroids, in the back pockets of your cheek, swish it around and then put it in a sterile tube. It's like what you see them do on CSI or any of the crime shows for a DNA sample. How did you register if you didn't do a swab?

Ali Edwards 7 years ago

Sorry, I should have clarified. When I registered, I did a cheek swab.

However, the site allows one to register online (instead of in person), so I'm not sure how they collect cheek cells.

Laura Herring 7 years ago

Oh I see. I think that's technically how my sister registered, "online." She filled out all the paperwork online and then they sent her the swab kit, she completed it and sent it back herself.

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