Helping Tami Marrow Donor Drive

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Read Donor Info in Japanese on the Helping Yoko Website

Marrow Drives

A site to help patients in need of bone marrow or stem cell transplants learn how to publicize their donor drive efforts.

Easy tutorials with donor drive ideas that you can use online or in person for patients, family and friends.

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The Difference Between Marrow and PBSC Donation

So far Tami's doctors have said she will need a stem cell or PBSC (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation) donor. What is PBSC and how is it different from marrow donation?

There are TWO ways of giving your adult stem cells to a patient in need:

PBSC: 70% of the time donors are asked to give stem cells through their blood using a method called PBSC. To increase the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream, donors receive daily injections of a drug called filgrastim for five days before the collection.

A simplified illustration of the PBSC process.

PBSC Donation

While lying in bed with your arms at your sides your blood is then removed through a sterile needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. This process is similar to donating plasma. The remaining blood is returned to you. It will probably take at least two harvesting sessions, with each lasting several hours to harvest the required number of stem cells. You can even watch tv or a movie while the harvest takes place. (more info here)

PBSC Risks: Fewer than 1% of PBSC donors experience a serious side effect from the donation process.

PBSC donation may require placement of a central line if you do not have suitable arm veins. A central line will be placed only with your consent after you have received information about the possible risks.

Another potential risk is associated with filgrastim injections. Though filgrastim is commonly used to treat cancer patients, the use of filgrastim in healthy donors is fairly new. Therefore, no data are yet available about the long-term safety. The NMDP began using filgrastim to aid in transplants in the 1990s. Since then, no NMDP donors have reported any long-term complications from filgrastim injections. (From the NMDP website)

Bone Marrow: 30% of the time, you are asked to give stem cells through your bone marrow. The majority of boen marrow donations are for children as they experience a higher success rate from marrow rather then PBSC.

Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure. While you receive anesthesia, doctors use special, hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bones. Many donors receive a transfusion of their own previously donated blood.
Bone Marrow Donation Process
Discomfort is usually minial but sometimes severe. It typically only lasts a few days to weeks and is most often described as soreness similar to a bruise. Some donors also experience fatigue. (more info here)

Bone Marrow Donation Risks: The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) wants to assure donor safety, but no medical procedure is risk-free. The majority (more than 98.5%) of donors feel completely recovered within a few weeks. A small percentage (1.34%) of marrow donors experience a serious complication due to anesthesia or damage to bone, nerve or muscle in their hip region.

The risk of side effects of anesthesia during marrow donation is similar to that during other surgical procedures. Serious side effects of anesthesia are rare. Common side effects of general anesthesia include sore throat (caused by the breathing tube) or mild nausea and vomiting. Common side effects of regional anesthesia are a decrease in blood pressure and a headache after the procedure. (From the NMDP website)

Donate Umbilical Cord Blood: In the past, when a baby was born, the umbilical cord was thrown away. But today, blood from the umbilical cord can be collected after your baby's birth and donated to a public cord blood bank to help someone with a life-threatening disease. (more info here)


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