The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Metropolitan St. Louis is teaming up with Racing To Register and Delete Blood Cancer DKMS to host City Swab 2013—the first-ever, simultaneous coast-to-coast bone marrow donor drive.
On Sept. 18, volunteers from BOMA and Delete Blood Cancer will be stationed in five office building lobbies throughout the St. Louis area to collect swabs from potential bone marrow donors and educate tenants, guests and members of the general public about bone marrow donation.
The St. Louis locations are:
- Metropolitan Square in Downtown St. Louis
- Bank of America Plaza in Downtown St. Louis
- Centene Plaza in Clayton
- Park 270 in Westport
- Creve Coeur Center in Creve Coeur
The drive runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The process of becoming a potential bone marrow donor is quick and painless. All it takes is some paperwork and a swab of the inside of your cheeks. Once you’ve been tested, you’ll be put in the National Bone Marrow Registry, which will contact you in the case of a match with a patient in need. Getting swabbed and joining the registry does not require a commitment to donate.
The goal of City Swab 2013 is to register 1,000 new donors for the National Bone Marrow Registry to help those struggling with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and other diseases that require a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. There are currently over 9 million people in the registry, but only about one in every 24,000 is likely to be a match.
Of the 15 cities taking part in this program, St. Louis is considered critical because of a special case in the area. Sean, Patrick, Danny and Timmy Murry, four brothers ranging from 9 to 22 years of age, all suffer from Diamond-Blackfan Anemia (DBA), an extremely rare disorder that causes failure to make red blood cells, which are necessary for delivering oxygen to the body.
Most patients with this disease require frequent blood transfusions to stay alive, and the only known cure is a bone marrow transplant. Parents Tim and Maggie Murry have been searching for bone marrow donors for more than 15 years, but they have yet to find a match for their sons. As DBA patients get older, more iron builds up in their system, so the need for the elder Murry brothers to receive a bone marrow transplant is more pressing than ever.
“Every individual who comes out for City Swab can make a real difference for the Murry family and others in need,” said Melissa Wolff, one of the BOMA St. Louis board members who is coordinating City Swab 2013 in St. Louis. “Getting swabbed and joining the registry takes less time than a coffee run, and it gives you a chance to save a life. BOMA is proud to be taking part in this important initiative, and we hope to have a huge turnout, so we can meet or hopefully even exceed our goal to register more donors.”