The importance of bone marrow registry
Anyone who walks into Blood Assurance to donate blood in Chattanooga is also asked if they'd like to become a bone marrow donor. For patients needing a bone marrow transplant, the more on the registry the better the odds of surviving.
"Its truly a matter of life and death," says Linda Hisey with Blood Assurance. "This is their last opportunity for life, they need this to survive."
Cleveland native and cyclist enthusiast Kevin Scoggins was diagnosed with Non Hogdkins Lymphoma in 2005. He's gone through several rounds of chemo. He was diagnosed with AML in November of 2013 and told he would need a bone marrow transplant. The search for the donor took about six weeks. He'll undergo surgery in mid April after a donor was found through an international search.
"The bone marrow transplant gives us a 20 percent chance that their would be a cure," Scoggins' sister, Tammy says.
Late last year north Georgia teen Cameron Scroggins lost his fight against cancer. Doctors found his brother to be a perfect bone marrow match but it was too late. His family hopes his story encourages others to join the life saving bone marrow registry, but it is a serious commitment.
"Its not something you want to do just because everybody is doing it, think about it," says Hisey.
Donors can join between 18 and 44-years-old. Health officials say that's because their target donors are young, healthy and in the prime of their lives. All it takes to join the registry is a simple swab of your cheek cells.
"Its not anything that's invasive at all. You come in and you get one of these packages from Blood Assurance," explains Hisey.
Once a part of the registry, you're on their until your 61st birthday and if you end up being a match you have to be able to answer that phone call.
"It's a serious commitment and yet you're doing something that's irreplaceable that no one else can help this person but you if you're a match," Hisey says.
Families like the Scoggins depend on it. "He's never given up and its been a long nine years. I consider him a hero," says Tammy.
If you'd like to joining the bone marrow registry you can visit Blood Assurance anytime between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.