Be the Change - Project 44

At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, we believe in the power of giving back, which is why we are introducing a new #BeTheChange campaign. Throughout the year, we’ll be bringing awareness to a different cause or foundation in our local community and empowering our patients to take action.

In March 2019, we’re supporting Project 44 — an Indianapolis-based non-profit created in honor of the late Butler Basketball Star Andrew Smith — and challenging 430 people to join the bone marrow registry. It takes just three simple steps to join.

Scroll down to find out more or click the link below to register today!

Join the Registry

What is Project 44?

Repping the #44, Andrew was a beloved member of Butler University’s two-time NCAA Finals basketball team. After being diagnosed with leukemia, Andrew was the personal recipient of a bone marrow transplant in November of 2015, which gave him and his wife Samantha three additional months to make memories together and have an impact on their community. At the age of 25, Andrew passed away from a two-year battle with cancer.

be the change - project 44 - deegan scott
Project 44 was born with an initial goal to save 44 lives through bone marrow transplants. Committed to Andrew’s selfless work and compassion, Samantha and a team of dedicated individuals have enhanced Project 44’s mission to save lives by fostering a mainstream sense of moral obligation and willingness to support and join the bone marrow registry.

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside your bones that makes blood-forming cells (blood stem cells). These cells turn into blood cells, including white blood cells to fight infections, red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, and platelets to control bleeding.

A bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment that replaces unhealthy marrow with healthy blood-forming cells. The transplant helps people with cancers that affect the blood, like leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases like sickle cell anemia. Patients who match for a transplant first undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation in order to destroy their diseased marrow. Then the patient receives a donor’s healthy marrow directly into the bloodstream, where they grow and start to make healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

What’s the truth about Donating Bone Marrow?

Chances are, if you’ve only been informed about bone marrow donations by television or the movies, you only know it to be painful or invasive. But like most things in the media, that portrayal isn’t quite realistic.

Here are five myths about bone marrow donations and the truth you need to know.

MYTH #1: All Donations Involve Surgery

The majority of donations do not involve surgery. Today, the patient’s doctor most often requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical. The second way of donating is marrow donation, which is a surgical procedure. In each case, donors typically go home the same day they donate.

MYTH #2:Donating is Painful and Involves a Long Recovery

There can be uncomfortable, but short-lived, side effects of donating PBSC. Due to taking a drug called filgrastim for five days leading up to donation, PBSC donors may have headaches, joint or muscle aches, or fatigue. PBSC donors are typically back to their normal routine in one to two days.

Those donating marrow receive general or regional anesthesia, so they feel no pain during donation. Marrow donors can expect to feel some soreness in their lower back, for one to two weeks afterward. Most marrow donors are back to their normal activities in two to seven days.

MYTH #3: Donating is Dangerous and Weakens the Donor

Though no medical procedure is without risk, there are rarely any long-term side effects. All donors are carefully pre-screened to ensure they are healthy and the procedure is safe for them. Because only five percent or less of a donor’s marrow is needed to save the patient’s life, the donor’s immune system stays strong and the cells replace themselves within four to six weeks.

MYTH #4: In Marrow Donation, Pieces of Bone are Removed From the Donor

No pieces of bone are taken during marrow donation. Only the liquid marrow found inside the pelvic bone is needed to save the patient’s life.

MYTH #5: Donors Must Pay to Donate

Through Be the Match, donors never pay to donate or to travel for donations. Plus, other costs are also covered on a case-by-case basis.

Why Join the Registry?

About 1 in 430 members of the bone marrow registry will donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells to a patient. That’s why in the month of March, we are committed to getting 430 people to sign up for the registry.

Need more reasons to join?

  • 130,000 Americans diagnosed with serious blood disease each year.
  • Each year, 3,500 children diagnosed with Leukemia — most common childhood cancer — taking 700  of those lives.
  • Right now, about 7,500 Americans searching the national registry for a donor.
  • Only 2 percent of population on the national registry.
  • 3,000+ people die each year without a matching donor.

Who Can Register?

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 44 who meets the health guidelines can join the registry for free. Doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group 86% of the time, because research shows that cells from younger donors leads to a more successful transplant. Those 45-60-years old can also join the registry, but must also pay a $100 tax-deductible payment to cover the cost to join.

Your race and ethnicity also matters, as you are most likely to match with someone of the same ethnic ancestry or background. Even with a registry of millions of people, many patients cannot find a match because of the lack of ethnic diversity on the registry. Adding more members who increase the ethnic diversity of the registry increases the variety of tissue types available and helps more patients find the help they need.

The registry specifically needs members who identify as:

  • Black or African American
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian, including South Asian
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Multiracial

Andrew and Samantha’s personal passion was ignited for the bone marrow registry when they learned that if the roles were reversed, Samantha would have a much harder time finding a match. As a male of European decent, Andrew was quickly matched with a donor; but due to the limitations of the registry’s ethnically diverse membership, many patients may lose their battle to cancer while waiting for a match.

What is the Commitment?

Joining the bone marrow registry means you are volunteering to be listed as a potential blood stem cell donor — ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant — and committing to:

  • Respond quickly if you are contacted as a potential match for a patient.
  • Keep contact information and significant health changes updated.
  • Donate to any searching patient who matches you.
  • Be listed on the registry until your 61st birthday, unless you ask to be removed.

By joining the registry, you give patients hope. You may be the only one on the registry who can save a particular person’s life. We hope you’ll join us in getting 430 new members to join the registry this month, and together we can #BeTheChange.

Ready to get started?

Join the Registry

 

 

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