SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, recently passed a measure that highlights the dire need for more bone marrow donors in Illinois. In order to raise collective awareness of lifesaving bone marrow donations, Mussman is encouraging area residents to talk to friends and family members about becoming a donor to help others through their toughest times.
“One of the obstacles for patients who need a bone marrow transplant is that most people are unaware of how easy and rewarding donating bone marrow actually is,” said Mussman. “For some patients with leukemia or any other blood cancers, receiving a bone marrow transplant could be their only option for treatment. We need to spread the word as a community and as a state to help save lives. There are patients who need us, and there are many potential donors out there who can help increase patients’ chances of finding a match.
Mussman’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.
“Being a bone marrow donor for a patient is a selfless, generous act that could make all the difference for someone who is critically ill,” said Mussman. “I am hopeful that by increasing awareness about joining the donor registry, this legislation could save countless lives.”