While a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is often the last line of treatment for otherwise incurable and deadly blood diseases, a legacy of mistrust towards the healthcare system is one factor that has limited Black Americans’ presence on the donor registry and the likelihood that those who are registered will go on to donate when identified as a match for a patient in need.
Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta.
Myths around what the bone marrow or blood stem cell donation process looks like play a role too; and the reality is much different than depictions in Hollywood films or medical sitcoms. Eighty percent of the time, doctors ask donors to give blood stem cells through a non-surgical outpatient procedure, which resembles a plasma donation. The remaining 20 percent of the time, bone marrow donations are collected through a surgical process performed under anesthesia. There is no cost to the donor.
We have the power to save lives in our own community while closing the gap on a healthcare disparity that impacts the life expectancy of Black patients. Visit BeTheMatchATL.org to learn more.
State Sen. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, is chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia.