Getting people to donate blood is relatively easy. Blood drives are frequently held, and most people are aware of both the need and the accessibility of donation. For stem cells, however, the story is not the same. Although the need is great, far fewer people are aware that they can make the difference between life and death by registering as a donor. Be The Match, an organization that finds donor matches for patients in need of a stem cell transplant, is dedicated to raising awareness, raising funds and, most importantly, raising donor registration numbers.
Some patients with certain cancers, such as some leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, need a very high dosage of chemotherapy directed at blood-related cells. The therapy damages bone marrow, and these patients require a stem cell transplant to restore their ability to create normal blood cells. Although terminology can be confusing, both a "bone marrow transplant" and a "peripheral stem cell transplant" put new, working stem cells into a patient's bone marrow. The difference lies in the source of the donated cells. In a