From Cheek Swab to Lifesaver List. How it Works. What it Means.

What happens when you send your swabs back to DKMS?

• Our lab analyzes your tissue type: Your cheek cells are tested for HLA tissue markers.

• HLA = Human Leukocyte Antigens, or characteristics of human white blood cells. These protein ‘markers’ are found on most cells in your body.

• There is a great diversity of HLA and the cheek swab is currently tested for up to 12 characteristics.

• Your immune system uses HLA markers to determine which cells belong in your body and which do not.

• The best transplant outcomes occur when the patient’ s and donor’s HLA closely match.

• Once HLA markers are identified, your tissue type is entered anonymously into the US national bone marrow donor registry – “the lifesaver list” -- and assigned a donor number. The database is linked to global registries, searchable for any patient around the world.

What it means to be on the registry:

• Once you're on the registry, you are on standby to save a life. That's awesome! Be ready to donate, and willing to donate to any patient in need.

Will you become a match for a patient?

You could be called as a potential match within weeks of registering. Or, perhaps it will take years. There is a chance that you may never be called, but if you do get called, there is a good chance you are the ONLY one who can save that patient’s life.

On average, less than 1% of people on the registry will actually donate to a patient.

More about HLA

• You inherit half of your HLA markers from your mother and half from your father. This means you and your sibling have a 25% chance of having exactly the same HLA characteristics.

• This also means that most patients – about 7 out of 10 -- are unable to have a donation from a sibling, and an unrelated donor is required. This donor should ideally be a perfect HLA match.

• The more people who register, the better the chances for patients who are waiting for their lifesaving match.

This is why YOUR registration matters so much!


Other Ways to Help

There are many ways to support our fight against blood cancer.

100% of every gift you make helps us recruit more potential lifesavers.

We need more lifesavers. Host a drive to help us register more potential bone marrow donors.

Learn more about blood cancers and how you can make a lifesaving difference.

Katharina Harf, Co-Founder of Delete Blood Cancer
We Can Delete Blood Cancer
Donors like Corie bring hope to patients worldwide ❤️ . She signed up to be a #bonemarrowdonor at @slu_official eight years ago.  Earlier this year she stepped up and donated to a patient in need of a transplant and honor the memory of her father in law who lost his battle to leukemia. 
#DKMS #deletebloodcancer #bonemarrowdonors #fightcancer #donor #donate
Nine-year-old Emma had to give up the activities that she loves so much when she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. This condition causes her body to stop producing new blood cells. She's often exhausted and now at increased risk for infections and uncontrolled bleeding. The cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Emma's adopted and there are no immediate bone marrow matches in her family. She must rely on a stranger to step up and register. Due to the lack of diversity on the national registry, it will be even harder for Emma to find a match. Will you step up for Emma?
Our friends at the @runproject hosted the #TooHotToHandle race 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♂️ in Dallas over the weekend. Over 2,500 racers participated and proceeds from the half marathon went towards the fight against blood cancer.
Arm in arm like brothers and face-to-face for the first time, Steven (left) and @joshwildhorn (right) shared a special moment at the @ABC7NY studios.

In February of 2017, Steven answered the call to save a young man in Seattle who was fighting leukemia. He donated his stem cells and today, Josh continues to rock out with his heavy metal band @designerdisguise. 
#DKMS #AgainstBloodCancer7NY #ABC7NY #cancersurvivor #deletebloodcancer #bringhope #feelgood #inspirational #motivational #bonemarrowtransplant #DKMSUS
Look who we found outside the @abc7ny studios! @kellyripa! She wants you to come down to the ABC Studios and #swabyourcheeks to become a registered #bonemarrowdonor. We agree! Thanks for your support, Kelly!
You can help us give 2-year-old Jeremy more reasons to smile 😃. He was born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare genetic disorder that affects his immune system. Because there are no matches in his family, he depends on a stranger stepping up to donate their bone marrow 💉 to give him a healthy shot at life. 
Will you step up?
Wishing happiness and good health to all the amazing dads out there who are affected by cancer. 💙 #HappyFathersDay
Soaring high above the #nyc skyline, the @empirestatebldg was lit in red for World Blood Cancer Day on May 28th. ❤️
📸: @ericvitalephotography