Awareness campaign addresses critical need for people of color as bone marrow donors
MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A new national awareness and fundraising campaign aims to inspire more people – especially African Americans – to join the ranks of potential bone marrow donors and help save patients battling blood cancers. Be The Match®, the global leader in providing bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases, is sponsoring messages that are currently airing on CBS television stations in 10 markets through June 3.
The 30-second spots feature three stars of the CBS TV series “NCIS” calling on viewers to become “heroes” – either by joining the Be The Match Registry® as a potential marrow donor, or giving money to help cover $100 cost for the necessary genetic testing required to add each new person to the registry. The spots start with a simple statement from Michael Weatherly of “NCIS.”
“Every 10 minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer,” Weatherly says, referring to leukemia and other diseases like sickle cell anemia and lymphoma that can be treated by a bone marrow transplant. Co-stars Rocky Carroll and Cote de Pablo join Weatherly to explain that joining the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest and most diverse listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units, requires just “a quick swab of your cheek.”
The campaign, titled “Swab+DNA = Save A LifeSM,” focuses on the need for more heroes from the African American, Hispanic and Asian communities – and particularly 18- to 44-year-olds who are 10 times more likely to be called to donate. The reason: There are not enough young registry members of diverse racial and ethnic heritage to help all patients in need of a marrow transplant.
Most patients who need bone marrow transplants do not have a match in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match. The most successful transplants occur between people who share similar DNA because of their racial or ethnic heritage. But just 7 percent of 10 million potential donors on the Be The Match Registry are African Americans, 7 percent are Asians and 10 percent are Hispanic or Latino.
“Encouraging more people of color to help save a life has been a key focus for us for many years,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates Be The Match. “Our campaign on local CBS television stations takes a new direction, highlighting the importance of DNA matching by featuring actors best known to Americans as forensic investigators.”
The Swab+DNA = Save A Life campaign will also address common myths about bone marrow donation, like donating is painful or that people have to pay to donate, that keep people from joining the registry and potentially saving a life.
The TV spots direct viewers to SWABplusDNA.org for more information. They can also text the words “DNA” to 50555 to contribute $10, which helps cover the costs of adding people to the marrow registry. The spots are airing in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, Miami, and Minneapolis – home to Be The Match corporate headquarters.
The CBS relationship is managed nationally at Be The Match. Please direct all questions through Be The Match, rather than contacting CBS directly. CBS talent generously provided their time to record this spot but will not be available to comment on this campaign.
About Be The Match®
Be The Match helps patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can join the Be The Match Registry – the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units – contribute financially and volunteer. Patients and their families can also turn to Be The Match for support and resources before, during and after transplant. Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research so more lives can be saved. For more information, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.
For National Marrow Donor Program:
612-455-1719 / 651-983-4312
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