It is critical that Michael Brecker, who has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome), undergo a stem cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's siblings and children) has not resulted in a suitable match. His doctors say that all possible options must be explored immediately, which involves finding as many people of a similar genetic background to be tested. There are some important points to understand concerning this process:
1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a local lab. The cost is $40-$75, and insurance may cover it. (In New York, call Frazier at the New York Blood Bank at 212-570-3441 for an appointment for HLA typing. It costs $40.) Alternately, check with your local blood bank, or go to www.marrow.org to find the donor center nearest you.
2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in need of a transplant. Being on the registry doesn't mean you have to donate, only that you may be asked to do so. You can take your name off the registry at any time.
3. Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael, please understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow transplants, and the term itself can be misleading. Bone marrow donation is no more invasive than giving blood. Stem cells are simply harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.
4. A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category, please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who are in a similar situation. Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a large group, like a synagogue, to sponsor it. Should you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Michael's management office at 212-302-9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Archer - radioandrecords.com
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