June 18, 2009
More than 40 donors and transplant recipients from 23 states met with legislators in Washington, D.C., on June 17 to support the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (Program) and the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI), to urge the increase of Congressional funding for the life saving Program. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) sponsored the visits and is the federal contractor for the Program, which provides access to the national Registry (publicly known as the Be The Match RegistrySM) that includes more than 7 million adult donors and 100,000 cord blood units, including more than 18,000 units collected by nine public cord blood banks under the NCBI.
“Bone marrow and cord blood transplants are increasingly becoming a treatment option for more patients and a wider range of diseases. To meet this growing demand, funding levels cannot remain flat.” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., NMDP chief executive officer.
Advocates, each of whom have a special connection to the NMDP either as a marrow donor, transplant recipient or NMDP network member, shared their personal stories on behalf of the 10,000 Americans who each year are diagnosed with blood-related diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma. For these patients, an unrelated marrow or cord blood transplant is their best or only hope for a cure. The Program and the NCBI have provided hope for patients in need of a potentially life-saving marrow or cord blood transplant. The NMDP and the legislative day attendees were in Washington to educate Congress on the critical need for funding and continuation of these efforts.
“The NMDP provides comprehensive support for patients and their families who need a transplant – everything from managing the national Registry to groundbreaking research and patient assistance – but additional funding is needed to help the increasing number of patients who need a transplant,” said Sharon Johnston, of Youngstown, Ohio, who donated peripheral blood stem cells for an unrelated patient six years ago.
“I’m alive today because of the transplant I received through the NMDP,” said Kimberly Dixon, of Wichita, Kan., who received a transplant in early 2007. “I’m very grateful for what this organization does to ensure more patients have access to a transplant.”
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is a not-for-profit organization entrusted to operate the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program created by Congress in 2005. As a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP manages the Be The Match Registry, facilitates transplants worldwide, conducts research to help transplant recipients live longer, healthier lives, and provides education to patients and health care professionals. The NMDP is dedicated to creating an opportunity for all patients to receive the transplant therapy they need. Since operations began in 1987, the NMDP has provided more than 35,000 transplants to help give patients a second chance at life. For more information, visit www.BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.