Could You Save This Baby’s Life?

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Ten-month-old Kate Boggan has congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia, a rare type of bone marrow failure in which her bone marrow doesn’t produce platelets, which are essential for blood-clotting. Her parents, Lindsey and Alex, had struggled with infertility for years, and they were finally blessed with this beautiful baby girl. Leukemia and other bone marrow failures like Kate’s are one of the leading causes of death in children, but they can be successfully treated with a bone-marrow transplant. The Boggans are working with DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center, to find a match for Kate. Read Lindsey’s blog here. To become a potential donor, you first register online and then swab your cheek with a mail-in kit; your cheek cells will be tested for their DNA tissue type and added anonymously to the National Bone Marrow Registry. You will be contacted if you are a match for Kate or any other patient. Donation is not as difficult as people think; most donations are now done by a technique called peripheral blood stem cell donation (similar to donating blood), rather than a bone marrow donation (in which marrow is extracted from the pelvic bone under anesthesia).

Cord blood transplant from an anonymous donor is another option for many children with serious blood diseases. Read the article in our August issue, “The Gift of Life,” about a boy whose life was saved by a cord blood transplant through a public bank.

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