Save a Life, Swab a Cheek initiative event at Ragged Mountain
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Two organizations have teamed up to raise awareness of the need for stem cell donors.
Every year, more than 14,000 patients are diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer like leukemia and lymphoma, or other diseases for which a marrow transplant from an unrelated donor may be their only hope of a cure.
Be the Match Regional Coordinator Amy Schatz says around 145 people die a day without having a stem cell donor match and they’re hoping to help change that.
The Yellow Door Foundation provides free housing for families who suffer from these kinds of diseases.
Stacie Torrey, the spokesperson for the Yellow Door Foundation, says many of these families could benefit from stem cell transplants.
Both Be the Match and the Yellow Door Foundation set up tables outside Ragged Mountain Running Shop on Friday to get people to sign up for swab tests.
Schatz says more than 100 people signed up Friday.
Torrey says Yellow Door currently houses five families and is looking to build a sixth home. She says the need is so great, families are having to be put on a waitlist.
Schatz says there’s a great need for transplants right now and finding the right match isn’t easy.
"So, only 30 percent of the time would a patient find a match within their family, so 70 percent of the time, they would have to come search our registry to see if there's a potential, un-related donor who could be their match,” Schatz said.
She says they try to provide patients with more than one match as well so they and their doctors can pick the best options.
In good news, Schatz says the organization has facilitated the most transplants in Be the Match's history over the course of the pandemic.
You must be between 18 and 40 years old to register. Click here for more information.