This article was originally published on chattanoogan.com.
Each year, 600 to 900 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with aplastic anemia — a potentially life-threatening disease where the bone marrow in the body stops working. Matthew Medina, police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), was 40 years old when he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. His story has inspired hundreds of first responders to join the national Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors.
“The tremendous amount of support Matt has received from family, friends, our first responder community and even strangers has been unbelievable,” said Dante Pagulayan, officer for the LAPD and Medina’s LAPD partner. “Each person who joined the registry on Matt’s behalf gives him and thousands of patients searching for a matching donor the strength and hope they need to keep fighting.”
Medina is currently being kept alive through blood transfusions. He requires a marrow transplant to save his life, but he must find a matching donor.
Be The Match launched the “Register & Respond” campaign to urge first responders and communities to join the registry in order to find patients the donor match they need. The campaign launched on Aug. 1, which was also National Night Out — a day that served to highlight the relationships between first responders and their communities.
“First responders understand better than anyone the importance of stepping up when lives are on the line,” said Christopher Swafford, vice president of operations at Blood Assurance. “When they get the call to donate, they’ll be there to respond. That’s why Blood Assurance and Be The Match are partnering with first responders across the country to host donor registry drives and raise awareness about the need for more young, committed marrow donors to join the Be The Match Registry.”
To learn more about joining the Be The Match registry or to set up a marrow drive, visit www.bloodassurance.org/bonemarrow.