A few days before Christmas 2021, my three siblings and I received the news every family dreads: Our father was found and cancer.
Dad looked great on Thanksgiving. He had just complained of a lingering cold when we forced him to go to the doctor to get medicine.
And that’s how he found out about his illness.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rare type. Only 20,000 people get it has been found and that every year, and ohonly about 30 percent patients can reach five years. When my father went to the hospital in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, with a minor problem, they told him to go to the hospital.
Then we realized that if our father had not gone to the doctor, he would have probably only made it a few days. Not many people can say that they will come that nearby.
He immediately began chemotherapy, which he did hastily, while still working at the pharmaceutical company to which he had devoted most of his professional life. Our family focused on the next step: getting him healthy enough for a bone marrow transplant, which seemed to be his only hope of defeating AML. All his siblings and all four of his children lined up to see who would be the best leukocyte antigen (HLA) equality.
Siblings are often chosen over children for bone grafting because there is a greater chance that the sibling will be perfect. HLA matching of the patient. Unfortunately, my father’s brothers are good matches for each other, but not for him. So the doctors looked at another great game: I’m lucky.
In 2020, there were over 22,000 orthopedic surgeons he did in the United States. For non-autologous transplants, only 30 percent of the donations were from people, like me, who were related to the recipient. So many patients rely on donations from strangers, but only themselves 2 percent Americans are on the registry to be considered for donations.
The difficulty of finding a good match from the registry is highly dependent on the type of patient. If the patient is clean, the chance of match and 79 percent—but if the patient is black, that number drops to 29 percent. And finding a match is only the first step. Getting a match to accept an offer is another beast. It just happens half the time.
More than 85 percent Bone marrow donation is now done through a procedure called pperipheral blood stem cell apheresis. Instead of bothering with a needle in my hip, I spent six hours while 4 million of my cells were filtered into my blood. More than 35,000 people have donated bone marrow to a stranger without death in one donor. So if there is no real risk to the donor, why don’t many people donate?
The decision of Flynn v. Holder in 2011, it was illegal pay someone for their bones because the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 treated bone as if it were an organ. Now, bone marrow is treated like blood or plasma. More than 20 million people donate plasma annually as well to be paid $50 to $75 per appointment. Instead, the US property 70 percent of the world’s plasma is partially because it is one of the few countries that provides financial support.
However, no one has been paid for their bones.
Companies like Hemeos have tried to create an incentive to pay bone donors up to $3,000 per donation, but have failed to challenge the biggest player in the field: Be a Match. With more than 22 million people on their registry, Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), is strong opposition pay donors even he is bragging how they cover all medical and travel expenses related to the donation. Their entire identity depends on the fact that they rely on volunteers who only want to help others, not make money. “Be Match will be an obstacle to the use of incentives. They are very controlling,” Peter Jaworski, professor of ethics at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, they tell us Because.
The truth is that no cancer patient, or anyone with a blood disorder, cares if the donor has donated fat for the “right” reason.
A year later, my father’s burial has been successful. She is cancer free but still needs to receive regular blood products to promote the healthy cells she received from me.
We were lucky that we didn’t want to leave his life to chance—but if that had been the case, we would have been prepared to write a check to anyone who deserved it.