The 12 advocates and their caregivers, alongside Be The Match executive leaders, met with more than 60 lawmakers and staffers in just one day. They shared stories of how their lives have been impacted by bone marrow donation—whether they received a life-saving transplant, donated bone marrow to a stranger or are still searching for a match—to reinforce the importance of the program and continued federal support.
Be The Match, which connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant, relies on federal funds to grow the nation’s ranks of volunteer bone marrow donors, as well as to increase the inventory of umbilical cord blood units, which contain the same blood-forming cells as bone marrow. But under sequestration, the program stands to be cut by approximately $3 million in 2014. This means that as many as 20,000 willing volunteer donors and 1,000 cord blood units may not be added to the national registry.
While funding for the program has been modest compared to other federal funding, these dollars mean the difference between life and death for many Americans with life-threatening blood and marrow cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other diseases.
As a part of the Be The Match Legislative Day efforts, a bone marrow registry drive, sponsored by Senators Jack Reed, Richard Burr, Al Franken and Orrin Hatch, was held to encourage the D.C. community to swab their cheeks and join the national registry. Nearly 100 people joined the registry.
Action you can take: Advocates like you are needed to continue the momentum gained from Legislative Day. Help us reach our goal of ensuring every patient finds a match. There’s more work to be done and we can’t do it alone – we need your help! Visit www.BeTheMatch.org/Advocacy today and get involved!