Each year, thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native patients 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 or blood stem cells from someone who shares their tissue type.
Because the characteristics of tissue type are inherited, the best chance of finding a match is from a sibling. But only 1 percent of the approximately 4 million volunteers in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry are American Indians and Alaska Natives. Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need for volunteer marrow donors from the American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
You could save the life of another Native person. Keep the circle strong by joining the NMDP Registry.
American Indian/Alaska Native Facts & Figures
The Need For American Indian/Alaska Native Stem Cell Donors
Every year, hundreds of American Indian and Alaska Native adults and children die of leukemia, aplastic anemia and other potentially fatal blood diseases. Many of these deaths could be prevented with a marrow or blood stem cell transplant.
These transplants require matching certain tissue traits of the donor and patient. Because these traits are inherited, a patient’s most likely match is another family member.
Unfortunately, 70 percent cannot find a match within their own families. They need an unrelated individual willing to donate healthy stem cells. Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Although it’s possible for an American Indian or Alaska Native patient to match a donor from any racial or ethnic group, the most likely match is another American Indian or Alaska Native.
What Has Been Done To Help American Indian/Alaska Native Patients
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) created a national education and recruitment initiative called Keep the Circle Strong. The goal is to recruit more American Indians and Alaska Natives to become volunteer donors.
The Keep the Circle Strong national educational initiative reaches the community through Native media, community groups and individuals.
Through the initiative, American Indians and Alaska Natives can continue the circle of life by joining the NMDP Registry.
You can find more information about the process from the NMDP Frequently Asked Questions Page.