Be The Match donor drive to help, honor Bond Clinic physician who needs bone marrow transplant – The Ledger

Posted: August 12, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Bone marrow transplants are used in serious blood disorders, especially cancers, when the needed doses of chemotherapy or radiation would be so high it would damage or destroy the stem cells in the marrow.

WINTER HAVEN For 14 years, Dr. Christopher Miller has been treating patients at Bond Clinic where he specializes in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Many local people have met him at Bonds diabetes clinic or in nearby Eloise where he volunteers at Angel Cares free clinic.

Organizers of a Be The Match drive are hoping that those who have benefited from his care, including families and friends of patients, will turn out to honor him Saturday by volunteering to be a bone marrow donor.

He received a shocking, out-of-the-blue diagnosis and is in need of a bone marrow match, said Ashley Scanlan, marketing director for Bond Clinic.

Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones where blood cells are produced. Transplants are used in serious blood disorders, especially cancers, when the needed doses of chemotherapy or radiation would be so high it would damage or destroy the stem cells in the marrow.

Be The Match, a national nonprofit organization that is part of the National Marrow Donor Program, is the largest registry matching donors with those in need of a marrow transplant, said Marc Silver, community engagement representative for Be The Match. It also provides support for patients and donors, information for health care professionals and conducts research.

Nearly 70 percent of people needing a marrow transplant do not have a match within their families so the registry was set up to provide a resource for matches.

The event is from 8to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bond Clinic Main Campus, 500 E. Central Ave., Winter Haven.

Registering to be a donor is a simple process, filling out some paperwork and taking a mouth swab, Scanlan said.

Volunteers should be between 18 and 44 years old, generally in good health and be willing to donate to any patient in the future, Scanlan said.

People are asking why the cutoff is 44, but they have found that age group has the best success in transplants, Scanlan said.

People of other ages are invited to come Saturday and write a note toMiller or make a financial donation, which would go either to the American Cancer Society or to the local Angel Care clinic, she said.

Bobbie Skukowski, an advanced registered nurse practitioner who leads Bonds diabetes clinic, said, Dr. Miller is an excellent physician and an excellent teacher. He was a fellow at Emory University and has taught us all so much; he has brought up the level of diabetes care at Bond Clinic and in the Winter Haven area in general.

“He is very good with his patients and right-on in his care, she said.

If a person is later selected as a potential match, there is no cost to the donor, Scanlan said. And the potential donor can later decide to withdraw from the registry.

The paperwork will ask several questions, including whether the potential donor is willing to donate to any patient in need, willing to donate to a stranger, and willing to donate 20 to 30 hours if found to be a perfect match.

If the potential donor meets the criteria, a mouth swab is taken and later analyzed for a match.

While years ago, being a bone marrow donor was a complicated procedure, now it typically is simple, handled much like a blood donation, Scanlan said.

Over 80 percent of the donations are non-invasive, said Be The Matchs spokesman Silver.

Be The Match literature explains that the donor is given injections of a drug, filgrastim, for five days leading up to the donation to increase the number of stem cells in the blood.

Then, on the day of the donation, the donor goes through a procedure similar to donating blood platelets at a blood center. Blood is taken out of one arm, passed through a machine that collects the blood-forming stem cells, and then the red and white blood cells are returned to the donors other arm through a needle. Typically it takes eight hours.

Donors often have a headache or muscle aches for a few days 22 percent recover within two days, 53 percent within a week, 93 percent within a month, 99 percent within three months and a very few people can take as long as a year to recover, according to Be The Match.

Less than 20 percent of the time, we do a hip aspiration, which is a more complicated procedure and involves having anesthesia in an operating room, Silver said.

Be The Match literature explains that, in those cases, needles are used to withdraw liquid marrow from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone. Typically, the donor stays at the hospital from early morning to late afternoon, or occasionally overnight for observation.

Be The Match helped match 6,200 patients for marrow and cord blood transplants last year and added 472,000 new potential donors to the registry, according to the organization.

Marilyn Meyer can be reached at marilyn.meyer@theledger.com or 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @marilyn_ledger.

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Be The Match donor drive to help, honor Bond Clinic physician who needs bone marrow transplant – The Ledger

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