On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children desperately search the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry for a matching bone marrow donor or cord blood unit. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.Donating does not necessarily involve surgery. Most often, what is taken is blood and not marrow, and the procedure is painless. Even when marrow is needed, the procedure is painless and the recovery period is quick and easy. No bone is removed from your body. The tissues that you donate could save someone's life. Admit it: if you were dying of leukemia, lymphoma, or some other life-threatening disease, you would hope against hope that someone would donate tissues for you. Here is a prime example of one way to fulfill a Kantian imperfect duty.
Even with a Registry of millions, there are many patients waiting and hoping, unable to find a match. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially needed.
I strongly urge everyone who can to consider joining the Registry. The NMDP website has lots of information about the various procedures and risks involved, who is a good candidate and who isn't, and what you're getting yourself into. It's a good idea to discuss this issue with your physician before committing yourself, but please give it some thought.