LIHU‘E — Be the Match Hawai‘i will be leading a bone marrow drive this Sunday, Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Kukui Grove Center.
“There is a need for more diverse individuals to join the donor registry with Be The Match Hawai‘i, and increase the chances of finding a donor match for patients awaiting a life-saving blood stem cell, or marrow transplant,” said Nainoa Wong of Be The Match Hawai‘i.
The drive, in addition to filling the donor registry lists at Be The Match Hawai‘i, is an Eagle Scout project produced by Eagle Scout candidate Riley Yoshio Regan of Scouts of America Troop 325 in the Hikina District, O‘ahu.
“I was inspired by my dad,” Regan said in an email. “More than a decade ago, he participated in a bone marrow registry drive on Maui. In June 2020, he was contacted by the Hawai‘i Bone Marrow Donor Registry (Be The Match Hawai‘i) because he was a match. Being a match literally means being able to save a person’s life. The chances of being a perfect match are very low so when you get the call, moving forward can be the difference between life and death for the person in need.”
“My dad didn’t hesitate to go through all the steps to ensure he was a perfect match, and he was prepared to do whatever it took to donate to help,” Regan said “But, for whatever reason, the person needing the marrow never moved forward with the procedure. My dad’s willingness to help, the low chances of being a match, and the fact that a simple swab can save someone’s life motivated me — helping Be The Match get more people in Hawai‘i signed up in their database might be a good Eagle Project.”
Each year, 12,000 patients are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers, or other diseases like sickle cell anemia for which a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best, or only hope of a cure, said Be The Match Hawai‘i.
Regan’s project has seen bone marrow registry drives take place throughout the state.
Assisting the 16-year-old scout on Kaua‘i, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami lends his support.
“We hope that our Kaua‘i residents ages from 18 to 44 years will join the registry so that more people of all ages can be saves, as well as to publicize how easy and important it is to join the registry to save a person’s life,” Kawakami said. Specifically, Be The Match Hawai‘i is looking for donors in the 18 to 44 years age range because research has shown that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.
Volunteers will be onsite at the Kukui Grove Center to provide awareness about the Be The Match Hawai‘i mission, and assisting those who want to join the donor registry with the registration process that typically takes between 5 to 10 minutes. The online registration process includes a short form to complete along with a cheek swab sample.
“A simple process that will take less than five minutes of your time may mean the difference between life and death,” Regan said. “It could be your family member, neighbor, or best friend who may need a bone marrow donation in the future to live. Being part of this registry drive may save lives, or the lives of others in need throughout Hawai‘i, and the world.”
For those unable to attend the donor drive in person, registration be done online at no cost by visiting my.bethematch.org/ImuaScouts, or text ImuaScouts to 61474.
Since founded in 1989, Be The Match Hawai‘i has helped facilitate more than 503 life-saving blood stem cell, or bone marrow transplants to patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases.
More than 73,000 donors are registered in Hawai‘i, though more are needed.
Source: The Garden Island