As an American Indian or Alaskan Native, you can make a difference in the lives of other Native people by joining the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.

The circle in the form of a medicine wheel is a powerful symbol in American Indian / Alaskan Native life.

The circle represents the continuing circle of life, while the medicine wheel depicts the four cardinal directions and otality of creation dwelling in those regions.

American Indian / Alaskan Native people can keep the circle strong for future generations by becoming volunteer marrow donors.

Each year, more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases such as leukemia and aplastic anemia. For most, their only hope for a cure is a transplant of healthy marrow from someone who shares their marrow type.

Finding a compatible marrow donor can be difficult. The characteristics of marow are inherited in the same way as hair and eye color. The best chance of finding a match if from a sibling (i.e., a brother or a sister). BUT, 70% of patients cannot find a match within their own families.

The next best chance of finding a matched donor is with a person of the same racial or ethnic background.

Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need for volunteer marrow donors from the American Indian / Alaskan Native communities.

You could save the life of another person...

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) maintains a computerized Registry of volunteers willing to donate marrow to patients with life-threatening blood diseases curable with a marrow transplant. When patients cannot find a matched donor in their families, they search the NMDP Registry.

Keep the Circle Strong

Keep the circle strong by becoming a volunteer marrow donor on the NMDP Registry. The more people who resister, the more likley patients will find a matched donor.

How Can I Help?

It's easy to become an NMDP volunteer marrow donor. There is no cost for Native people to join the Registry. To qualify as a volunteer marrow donor, you must be between the ages of 18 and 60 years old and in good health.

First, you will need to take a blood test to determine your tissue type. The results will be listed in the NMDP Registry. If you are contacted as a potential match, additional blood tests will be taken to confirm that you are a match with the patient.

All tissue typing records are strictly confidental and not available to government or private agencies.

If you match a patient in need, you will receive a complete physical examination and a counseling session with a medical staff person.

You will undergo a simple hospital procedure to remove a small amount of marrow from your pelvic (hip) bone. The procedure will be performed with a special surgical syringe (needle) while you are under anesthesia. Bone will NOT be removed or broken during the procedure. After a short stay at the hospital, you may go home. The hospital procedure is performed at NO COST to the donor.

Most people feel some soreness in the lower back for about a week but are able to resume normal activities within a few days. Your body replaces the marrow in a few weeks. Although the donation is made anonymously, you have the option of communicating with the recipient through letters and can meet the recipient after one year if you both agree.

At any time during the process, you have the opportunity to decline the offer to donate. However, it is important that when you join the NMDP Registry, you are committed to the mmission of saving lives.

American Indian and Alaskan Native people have demonstrated they are resourceful and resilient. Continute the age old Native tradition of giving by joing the NMDP Registry. Become a volunteer marrow donor today.



Marrow Donation FAQs

NMDP is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minn. The NMDP facilitates unrelated marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with life-threatening diseases who do not have matching donors in their families. The NMDP is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration and Naval Medical Research and Development Command.