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Be an Unsung Hero by being a marrow donor

Staff Report • Feb 18, 2013 at 8:47 AM

There are Unsung Heroes among us who volunteer their time and talents to help others. Some deliver hot meals to the home-bound, or provide transportation to seniors who need to get to a doctor’s appointment. Others work with children in after-school programs, or do clerical work for community service organizations.

Unsung Heroes are people who take a few hours out of their time to grocery shop for elderly or disabled neighbors. They are also blood donors, foster care parents and volunteers at the local animal shelter. And they are the people who are willing to donate bone marrow.

The National Marrow Donor Program estimates that more than 35,000 children and adults in the United States develop life-threatening diseases each year that could be cured with bone marrow and blood cell transplants. Seventy percent of them do not have a suitable matching donor in their families.

Without volunteers laboring to call attention to the national donation program, many Americans in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant might not be with us today. The NMDP helps connect patients and their physicians to qualified donors.

Currently, an average of 200 patients receive an unrelated donor transplant facilitated by the NMDP each month. Sadly, many more patients could benefit from a transplant who do not receive this therapy because there are not enough Americans who are willing to sign up as marrow donors.

You can help a person who is in desperate need by signing up as a marrow donor today. You can begin the process by visiting bethematch.org or marrow.org to learn more.

As we said earlier, bone marrow donors are among the many Unsung Heroes in our community who make a major difference in the lives of others with small and large acts of kindness.

We want to hear about other Unsung Heroes, and we need your help to tell their stories. Please send us whatever information you can about these individuals to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com.

You also can pass along information about Unsung Heroes by calling Opinion Page Editor Robert Houk at 722-0535.

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