Friday, July 20, 2012
Medical Reports: Perfect Match
We all know about donating blood but there is another kind of donation that could save someone's life and right now, there is a shortage of donors especially here in South Florida. 7s Alexis Rivera shows us how you can be the perfect match for someone in dire need.
WSVN -- The day John Portuondo graduated from high school was supposed to be an exciting, new beginning. Instead the teenager received devastating news.
John Portuondo: "I got my diploma and I remember feeling very sick and that night I was in the emergency room at Baptist Hospital."
John was diagnosed with HIH a fatal blood disease.
John Portuondo: "I was told that I would need a bone marrow transplant to save my life."
John is not alone more than 10,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with blood-related disorders and cancers every year. It's extremely hard to find a life-saving match and there are not enough bone marrow donors.
John Portuondo: "I would hope and pray that there would be someone selfless enough out there for me. Waiting for a donor is I guess waiting for a second chance."
And here in the melting pot of South Florida it's even harder to find a match.
Rita Reik: "African-American, Hispanic, Asian people of those ethnicity's, all reside down here in very big numbers, but unfortunately we don't have proportionate amount donors."
Experts think it's because people don't understand how easy and painless it is to get on the registry and donate.
Rita Reik: "All you have to do to get on the registry is take a cotton swab and swab your cheek. And we'll have your whole fingerprint of your cellular type, we list it in a international registry."
Then if you are lucky enough to be a match...
Rita Reik: "You can give stem cells which is a procedure that is very similar to the way we collect platelets on our blood donors."
Fort Lauderdale resident Elena Connell saw a national TV show about the need for donors and was inspired to get on the bone marrow registry for Be-the-Match.
Elena Connell: "People are worried about breast cancer and you know many other topics, but no one really thinks about bone marrow donation and what they can do to save someone."
Elena just found out she is a match for a 40-year-old man with leukemia. We were there as she made her life-saving donation at the community blood centers of South Florida.
Elena Connell: "It's really exciting. It makes me feel like I have a purpose. That someone has the chance to live after me doing this."
John also got a donor and this past January he finally got the bone marrow transplant he desperately needed.
John Portuondo: "I got a call in the car from my mom//she was like ' Johnny, we got a donor!" 11:21 I started freaking out."
Now he's able to think about collegeand a healthy life ahead thanks to one giving person. John has a personal message to his perfect match.
John Portuondo: "Two years ago I didn't think I was going to be here talking to you. But you gave me the chance to do that you're a hero to me."
Alexis Rivera: "Donors are kept anonymous for one year then recipients can apply to get in contact or meet their donor."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Community Blood Centers of Florida
1700 North State Road 7
Lauderhill FL 33313
(800) 357-4483 ext. 3965
Be The Match
General information about Be The Match Registry® or NMDP:
1 (800) MARROW2 (1-800-627-7692)
Patients and families - for information and answers, contact Be The Match Patient Services:
1 (888) 999-6743
or e-mail email@example.com