Be The Match

Often times when a child relapses (the leukemia comes back), their only treatment option for survival is a bone marrow transplant (BMT). Parents, family members and friends sometimes question why a BMT isn’t the first line of defense. The answer is simple. BMT’s are extremely dangerous and can be fatal. The chemotherapy drugs and radiation given to the child in preparation for transplant not only kills bad cancer cells, it also kills healthy cells and is extremely damaging to the child’s vital organs as well.

Saving a life doesn’t require any special ‘Super Hero’ training — it’s actually very simple — just sign up at Be The Match (cape not included).

About Be The Match®
Be The Match is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help
patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. Be The Match offers the public
an opportunity to get involved by joining the Be The Match RegistrySM, donating umbilical cord
blood, contributing financially or volunteering time.
Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases need an unrelated
marrow or cord blood transplant, and depend on the Be The Match Registry, operated by the
National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), to find a match.
Be The Match raises awareness and recruits hundreds of thousands of donors (adult and cord
blood) to the Be The Match Registry each year through a network of more than 100 local and
regional recruitment organizations and public cord blood banks.
The Need
Every year, more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such
as leukemia or lymphoma, and their best or only hope of a cure is a transplant from an
unrelated donor or cord blood unit.
The need for transplants is increasing. Medical advances are making transplants a treatment
option for more patients of all ages than ever before.
Most patients (about 70 percent) in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their
family. They depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match.
Chance of Match
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is used to match patients and donors for marrow or cord
blood transplants. (Learn more about how a match is made on our Web site.)
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match the tissue type of
someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage. Currently, the likelihood of finding at
least one potential match on the Be The Match Registry ranges from 60 percent to 88
percent, and depends on a patient’s race or ethnicity.
A patient’s doctor can contact the NMDP to search the Be The Match Registry, which provides
access to more than 7 million potential donors and 150,000 cord blood units, as well as
donors and cord blood units listed on international registries.
While many patients do find the life-saving match they need each year, more donors are
needed, especially those from racially and ethnically diverse communities to help all patients.
How to Join the Be The Match Registry
The public can join the Be The Match Registry in person at a donor registry drive or online at To join, people need to be between the ages of 18 – 60, willing to donate to
any patient in need, and meet health guidelines. Registration involves completing a health
history form and giving a swab of cheek cells.
The total cost to add each new member to the Be The Match Registry is about $100.
Be The Match relies on financial contributions to help cover these costs. Contributions to
Be The Match FoundationSM help add more members to the Be The Match Registry, giving more
patients hope for a cure.
Other opportunities to support patients include donating cord blood, making a tax-deductible
contribution to Be The Match Foundation and volunteering time.
The Donation Process
If a member of the Be The Match Registry is called as a potential match for a patient, he or she will
be asked to give another cheek swab sample or blood sample to confirm that he or she is the best
possible match. The donor will also attend an information session to learn more.
Two ways to donate: Most donations do not involve surgery. About 70 percent of the time, the
patient’s doctor requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is a non-surgical,
outpatient procedure. If the patient’s doctor requests marrow (about 30 percent of the time), the
donation process is a surgical procedure performed in a hospital. General or regional anesthesia is
always used for this procedure. The doctor decides which method is best for a patient.
About Be The Match FoundationSM
Be The Match Foundation raises funds to help patients who need an unrelated marrow or umbilical
cord blood transplant find a donor and receive the treatment they need. Be The Match Foundation
works with individuals, corporations, other foundations and community groups to raise funds that
support three crucial areas: growing the Be The Match Registry to increase the chances that more
patients find their match; providing financial grants to patients who need help with treatment
costs; and funding transplant research to help more patients live longer, healthier lives.
Be The Match Foundation’s Patient Assistance Program
While a marrow or cord blood transplant is a potentially life-saving treatment for many
patients, it can take a financial toll on families. Often there is the temporary loss of at least one
income. And even with insurance, not all costs are covered.
Patients demonstrating financial need are eligible to apply for and receive financial grants to
assist with uninsured expenses associated with treatment, such as food, transportation,
temporary lodging, prescriptions and clinic co-pays, and insurance premiums for up to six
months after transplant. Without this support, some patients cannot receive the transplant they
Each year, Be The Match Foundation provides millions in patient grants, but the need continues
to grow. Be The Match Foundation is aiming to raise a total of $1 million in supportive grants.
Through this campaign, more patients and their families can focus on healing.
Visit and give patients one less thing to worry about.
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is a not-for-profit organization entrusted to operate
the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program created by Congress in 2005. As a leader in the
field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP manages the Be The Match Registry,
facilitates transplants worldwide, conducts research to help transplant recipients live longer,
healthier lives, and provides education and support services to patients, donors and health care