SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, recently supported a proposal to help increase the number of registered bone marrow donors in Illinois by raising awareness of the need for lifesaving marrow donations.
“For patients with blood cancers like leukemia, a bone marrow transplant is often the best, and in some cases the only, treatment option,” said Halpin. “Due to the complexity of matching patients with registered donors, many searching patients with life-threatening diseases have to wait for a transplant, while eligible donors may not even be aware of how they can help save a life.”
Halpin’s Senate Bill 3062 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop and disseminate information regarding a bone marrow registry, including:
- The need for bone marrow donations;
- Patient populations that would benefit from bone marrow donations;
- How to join a bone marrow registry; and
- How to acquire a free buccal swab kit from a bone marrow registry.
According to Be The Match, one of the most prominent registries in the country, 70 percent of patients who need a bone marrow or blood cord transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family; a transplant from a non-familial matching donor could save their life. Adults between the ages of 18 and 44 who meet certain medical guidelines can join the Be The Match Registry at https://join.bethematch.org/s/landing.
“With the majority of people who need a bone marrow donation relying on anonymous donors, increasing awareness about joining the donor registry could save countless lives,” said Halpin. “Joining is a small time investment for a potentially incredibly rewarding opportunity.”