Can you spare a stem cell? | ParkRecord.com

Can you spare a stem cell?

The Park Record Editorial, June 5-7, 2013

Summer weekends are anything but lazy in Park City. They are typically jam-packed with activities and chores. But we’re betting that lots of local residents will find time this coming Sunday to stop by the Park City Medical Center to try to help save a few lives.

The hospital is helping to host a stem-cell registry drive that can be used to match potential donors with patients in need of life-saving bone marrow transplants.

The drive has special urgency because two members of the local community are currently facing bouts of cancer that could possibly be forced into remission by a dose of healthy stem cells.

People between the ages of 18 and 44 are being asked to stop by and undergo a quick cheek swab which will be analyzed and logged onto the national Be The Match Foundation database of potential bone marrow donors. That means, even if local participants aren’t precise matches for Parkites Andy Washington or Billie Harsch, they may be able to help someone else across the country who is desperately waiting for a genetic twin.

The drive is already drawing widespread support. A local Boy Scout adopted the cause as his Eagle Scout project and the word has spread across the city and county.

According to representatives from the national foundation, stem-cell transplants have been proven to cure several types of cancer and more than half of matches come from outside the families of the patients.

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But finding a match and then arranging the actual transplant takes precious time, and the wait can be agonizing for patients. For the donors, however, the procedure is reportedly very minor. World class ski jumper Lindsey Van has done it twice and said it is extremely gratifying.

So what do you think? Do you have time to save a life? Would you want someone to do it for you or one of your family members? We bet the answer is ‘yes.’

To participate in the Be The Match registry drive, visit the Park City Medical Center, 900 Round Valley Drive, this Sunday, June 9, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. If you are too old or too young to be a donor, you can still to contribute to the cause to help maintain and publicize the registry. For more information go to http://marrow.org.

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