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
We’re excited to be the recipient of a $25,000 grant from our partners at @LoveYourMelon to help support the fees associated with registering new donors. This funding will specifically support our goal to register more young donors, which is currently the group most likely to ensure a successful transplant.

In addition, our college program, #ureact, will also be partnering with Love Your Melon’s Campus Crew programs in 2019. The Campus Crews will help host swab drives and register donors to DKMS across the United States.

Stay tuned for exciting updates about this partnership!
Only 4% - The challenge for Astrid to find a match.
While Astrid is battling a rare form of #leukemia, she worries about the future of her children, just like any loving mom: “The thought of not seeing my little boys grow up is unbearable to me.” .
Astrid is mixed race of Nigerian and European decent, and ancestry plays a big part of the matching process. Currently, donors from minority ethnic backgrounds make up 4% of the donor registry. We need to help change her chances of finding a match! We can save Astrid and other mixed race patients! Join her fight. 
🔗 in bio
Katharina could not believe what was happening to her. .
“I had just moved out for college, it was the time after my exams at school, time to be free. At the beginning I thought that my incredible fatigue was just caused by all of this change. But at some point, even small things like riding my bicycle were strenuous, I even fainted multiple times very sudden. At the doctor, it was clear all at once that something wasn’t right, my blood cells were unbelievably low. The diagnosis came quickly, but I couldn’t really grasp what this meant. I thought “It’s not cancer, can’t be that bad.” But I learned quickly. I was pulled out of my life, was in the hospital 2-3 times a week and constantly needed transfusions to even survive until treatment began.
I got some kind of “mini chemo”, but relapsed after two years. I was desperate: My life had just begun once again very recently. So we started all over – and I needed a #bonemarrowtransplant. I was very lucky because my little brother was my match. But I also had mixed feelings: Happiness about the option but also worries if my brother would manage the surgery well. He did and I’m eternally grateful for his gift. Today, I’m quite well again – I still struggle with fatigue and need to take medicine, but I won’t complain at all. The transplant gave me my normal life back!
I am well aware that not all patients have the luxury of having a matching sibling. Because of this it’s incredibly important for me to show how easy it is to save someone else’s life. Most people don’t think about it, I didn’t do either until I got diagnosed. But perspective changes when you’re right in the middle, of course. I’m grateful for every single person signing up!” Please register today and let’s fight together to help save even more people.

Register: 🔗 in bio.
After listening to a story on the @kiddnation show, Eryn was inspired to sign up as a potential #bonemarrowdonor 💉 . Last year @berrt.n.errn gave a patient a second chance at life. 
You are awesome Eryn! 💪 
#DKMS #deletebloodcancer #bonemarrowdonors #Fightcancer #donor #donate
We're sending a different type of ❤️ to Landrie. She received a #bonemarrowtransplant today to rid her body of aplastic anemia. 
#DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #ValentinesDay #fightcancer
Today we celebrate donors like Matene who give blood cancer patients a second chance. Because of her, Marcus is alive today. 
#WorldCancerDay #DKMS #Deletebloodcancer #DKMSUS #Leukemiasurvivor #cancersurvivor
Bennett is home! Last year we featured Bennett, an eight year old boy diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In December, he found a matching donor and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Over the weekend, Bennett celebrated his 100 day post transplant, an important milestone in his recovery 🎉 🎈. #DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #TeamBennett #fightbloodcancer #savelives #Hope #DoGood
After years of searching for a #bonemarrowdonor, Damary found his lifesaving match!  Join us in wishing him well as he prepares for the next step of his treatment.  Please leave your wishes in the comments below. 
#DKMS #deletebloodcancer #Leukemia #fightcancer