Black Lives Matter is more than a political statement: it is commitment to our community.
Every person who suffers from a blood disease or cancer deserves fair and equitable treatment, but Black and African-American patients seeking life-saving stem cell transplants are significantly less likely to find a match.
Eight-year-old Dakhiyon Howard needs a stem cell transplant to treat his sickle cell disease, but he only has a 19% chance of finding a perfectly matched bone marrow donor. Because of HLA typing, stem cells from the bone marrow or cord blood of a donor from the same ethnic background greatly increases the likelihood of being a match.
Umbilical cord blood helps even the playing field for ethnically diverse populations, but cord blood banks are still lacking in cord blood donations from Black families.
From the Tuskegee experiments and the genetic history of Henrietta Lacks, to today’s institutional medical racism, Black and African-Americans have many reasons to mistrust the healthcare system.
For Black History Month, we acknowledge this complex history while we work tirelessly to decrease the disparity of access to fair and equitable medical treatment. Bloodworks has hired a cord blood donor recruitment coordinator to increase cord blood awareness and education in local Black and African-American communities, and continue to advance our internal diversity and inclusion training and recruitment.
The Cord Blood Donation Program at Bloodworks Northwest is committed to increasing the number of banked cord blood units from Black donors so that children like Dakhiyon can receive a cord blood transplant – and so that other families will have hope.
Cord blood donation can turn your baby’s first moments into someone else’s second chance. For a list of participating hospitals and to enroll as a cord blood donor, visit our website or talk to your provider.
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