Category Archives: Donor Drives

Ten Reasons to Join the National Bone Marrow Registry

I shot the videos you see below for an August 20, 2016 bone marrow matching drive in Camden, ME — a drive motivated by the multiple myeloma cancer suffered by my wife, Tracy Jalbuena. But almost all of these reasons apply beyond Tracy to one of the millions more who suffer from blood cancer, in places far beyond one small town in Maine.

You don’t need to wait for a bone marrow donor drive to join the National Bone Marrow Registry and see if you’re a match for someone who needs a life-saving transplant.  Click here to visit the Be the Match website and sign up for the registry RIGHT NOW — you’ll be sent a free test kit for a simple, painless cheek swab in the mail.

Reason #1: It’s Painless

Reason #2: It’s Quick

Reason #3: It’s Free

Reason #4: The Only Hope for Multiple Myeloma Sufferers

Reason #5: Tracy Jalbuena is Awesome

Reason #6: Do it for the Kids

Reason #7: Come to Help One Person, Help 1 Million + On the Side

Reason #8: Do it for the One You Love

Reasons #9 and #10: Build Community & Feel Great


Oregon State University issues Be The Match Campus Challenge Against Blood Cancer

Undergraduates at Oregon State University held a donor drive on their campus in Corvallis last month:

More than 120 students joined the National Bone Marrow Registry with the easy, quick, painless, no-cost act of sitting down at a table on the quad and getting their cheeks swabbed.

That simple act may have amazing reverberations — any time in the next 20 years that someone gets sick with blood cancer, an OSU student will be checked to see if their blood markers match.  If and when these students’ swabs match up, they can give the gift of life to someone in desperate need.

If you watch the video above, you’ll notice that OSU students are challenging other campuses across the nation to do better, to top OSU in its donor count. Has your school organized a bone marrow donor drive yet?  If not, check out the Be The Match on Campus website, which has all the links and resources you need to set up a donor drive on campus.  You can do it — and it works!  Check out these amazing stats.  Through the new Be The Match on Campus program, college students have:

  • raised $53,063 to support the National Bone Marrow Registry
  • added 4,111 new people to the registry as potential donors
  • generated 86 actual bone marrow donations already!

Add your energy to this wave of generosity.  Give of yourself.  Help others learn about the gift of a bone marrow match for people suffering from blood cancers.  Grab a friend, head online, and get a Be The Match on Campus chapter started at your college or university today.

#OregonState #BeTheMatch

Is there a Bone Marrow Drive Near You? (April 2015)

Thanks to the Be the Match Foundation, it’s possible to be anywhere in the United States and sign up for a cheek swab kit online that you can return in the mail.  Your cheek swab sample (really no more than a few Q-tips!) will be analyzed to identify your HLA tissue type.  If that tissue type matches the type of someone in need — congratulations!  You get to save a life.

However, just like a music concert offers so much more than listening to a CD, there’s really nothing like the experience of being at a donor drive.  There will be experts there able to answer your questions.  Sometimes you get to meet the people who need your help.  Best of all, you get to see your fellow human beings coming out in droves to help people they’ve never met.  What a feeling it is to see that kind of giving spirit!

There are bone marrow registry events happening across the country every month.  Here’s what’s going on in April 2015:

California: A3M is hosting a huge range of drives across the state.  Click here for details on the following drives:

  • Long Beach: April 25
  • Los Angeles: April 8, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19 and 27
  • Fullerton: April 8, 12, 21, 22 and 23
  • Irvine: April 11 and 26
  • Monterey Park: April 13, 14 and 15
  • Norwalk: April 13, 14, 15 and 16
  • Santa Monica: April 24
  • Signal Hill: April 18
  • Woodland Hills: April 21

Atlanta, GA: Bone Marrow Drive April 7-9 and Marrow Donor Drive & 5K Run, April 25

Bedford Park, IL: Marrow Donor Drive April 8 & 10

Bridgeport, CT: Marrow Donor Drive April 29-30

Bronx, NY: Marrow Donor Drive April 23

Central Islip, NY: Marrow Donor Drive April 16

Chicago, IL: Marrow Donor Drive April 8, Marrow Donor Drive April 9, Marrow Donor Drive & 5K Run, April 11, Marrow Donor Drive April 25 & Marrow Donor Drive April 29

Country Club Hills, IL: Get Swabbed With Nina Beck, April 11

Columbus, GA: Game, Set, Be The Match Donor Drive, Tennis and Mixer, April 11

Crossing, MA: Bone Marrow Drive, April 8

Evanston, IL: Bone Marrow Drive, April 19

East Stroudsburg, PA: Bone Marrow Donor Drive April 16

Fairfield, CT: Marrow Donor Drive, April 17

Fayetteville, NC: Marrow Drive at the Bronco Bowl, April 11

Geneva, FL: Bone Marrow Drive & 5K Run, April 11

Jersey City, NJ: Bone Marrow Donor Drive, April 17

Las Vegas, NV: Marrowthon Donor Drive & 5K Run, April 11

Maynard, MA: Marrow Donor Drive, April  12

Melrose Park, IL: Marrow Donor Drive, April 13

Miami, FL: Bone Marrow Drive April 7-8, Bone Marrow Drive April 26

Monroeville, PA: Bone Marrow Donor Drive April 13

Newark, NJ: Bone Marrow Donor Drive April 14-15

New Providence, NJ: Bone Marrow Donor Drive April 24

New York City, NY: Bone Marrow Drive at The Maze, April 9 & Bone Marrow Drive April 13-14

Philadelphia, PA: Marrow Donor Drive April 14-15 & Marrow Donor Drive & 5K Run, April 18

Pines, FL: Bone Marrow Drive April 9

Portage, IL: Bone Marrow Drive, April 16

Portland, ME: Bone Marrow Drive by Student Nurses’ Association, April 23

Pratt, KS: Bone Marrow Drive, April 14

San Jose, CA: Marrow Donor Drive & 5K Run, April 18

Springfield, MA: Marrow Donor Drive, April 29

Spring Lake, NJ: MarrowDrive, Ladies’ Night @ Commonwealth, April 23

Do you know of any more events?  Post a comment and spread the word!

Bone Marrow Registration Drive on February 26 at the University of Maine at Augusta

[Update: download a Press Release for this event here]

Dear Members of the Central Maine Community:

I am writing to let you know of an event happening on the University of Maine at Augusta campus this month.  On Thursday, February 26, you have a chance to save someone’s life.

Right now, there are millions of people across the United States suffering from a variety of syndromes and cancers of the blood:

  • Globoid-Cell Leukodystrophy
  • Leukemia
  • Metachromatic Leukodystrophy
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency

The names of these diseases are strange, but there’s a stark truth behind them: without a bone marrow transplant from a matching donor, these people will die.  With a bone marrow transplant from a matching donor, many of these people will live.

The difference between life and death is you.

There is a way for you to save the life of someone suffering from one of the diseases listed above: join the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry.

It’s quick, simple and painless: all you need to do is swab your cheek so a lab can figure out your bone marrow type.

It costs you nothing to join the registry if you’re in the age range for the healthiest marrow: 18-44 years of age.

If you are a match to save someone’s life, the Be the Match Foundation will pay all expenses associated with your donation.

The only way to fight these odds and save these individuals’ lives is to convince more members of our community to join the bone marrow registry. Only by signing up for the registry and spreading the word to our networks and circles can we make an impact on the current critical situation for people requiring bone marrow transplants. For these reasons, I urge you to attend the Bone Marrow Drive and join the Be The Match bone marrow registry.  If you are outside the optimal age range of 18-44 to join the registry, please help spread the word.

The details for the UMA Bone Marrow Drive are:

  •  Thursday, February 26, 2014, 10 AM to 2 PM
  • University of Maine at Augusta
  • Randall Student Center Lobby (next to the bookstore and the cafe)
  • Directions from the North: Take Interstate 95 south to exit 112, turn left off exit ramp. Go about .75 miles and turn right at the UMA entrance sign.
  • Directions from the South: Take Interstate 95 north to Exit 112 A, turn right off exit ramp. Go about .75 miles and turn right at the UMA entrance sign.
  • Event web page:

All members of the Central Maine community are welcome.

If you have any questions about the Bone Marrow Drive taking place on Thursday, February 26, please feel free to contact me personally at or 207-621-3190.

Thank you!

James Cook, Assistant Professor of Social Science
University of Maine at Augusta

PenBay and Adena Donor Drives

Two days ago there was a stem cell donor drive here at PenBay.  We had a local representative of Be The Match with us, and we signed up just over 20 people to the registry.  Thank you to everyone who helped!

Yesterday there was a stem cell donor drive at Adena Medical Center in my hometown, Chillicothe, Ohio.  This was organized by my amazing mother.  You might remember that she helped organize my sister’s wedding two years ago.  It turns out she is a wicked good event planner!  The Adena drive was a smashing success.  My entire family was there swabbing people, and a representative from Be The Match was there as well.  The bigwigs of the medical center did ceremonial swabbing.  These are my Dad’s old stomping grounds, so Mom assigned him to the greeting table, and he socialized with his old colleagues all day long.  Mom said there were nurses from the OR who said things like, “Dr. Jalbuena!!!  When are you coming back?!”  They signed up just over 100 people.  Mom called me afterward full of spirit, love and joy at the connections she made and reaffirmed there.  Thank you so much to everyone who worked on this!

A reporter from the NBC affiliate in Columbus was there as well, and they aired quite a long piece on the 11 o’clock news last night.  You can watch it through this link.

Next up: donor drive at the James Cancer Center, Ohio State University Medical Center, Thursday, February 5th, 11am to 6pm.  Amazing and thank you!

Another Drive – Penbay Medical Center

There will be a blood drive at Penobscot Bay Medical Center, and a Be The Match representative will be there!  He will be able to do about 30 cheek swabs, and then if he runs out, he will be able to get you signed up to get a swab kit in the mail.

Date: January 29th

Time: 9am-3pm

Location: Penobscot Bay Medical Center Physician’s Building, Library Conference Room

Spreading the Word: A Round of Thanks

It’s not fun to see my wife in pain with multiple myeloma, but whenever I start to feel alone in this struggle I think about all the people, groups and organizations who are standing by us and helping us to search for the bone marrow match Tracy needs. We are not alone, not by a longshot! If I were to name every single person who has buoyed us in some way in over the last six months, I’d have a very long list! Come to think of it, at some point I really should right down the names of every person standing behind us and give a hearty shout out of thanks. For today, I’d like to give thanks to some organizations that have stood behind us helped us in our search for a match.

Every day we are supported by the National Marrow Donor Program and its constant “Be the Match” drive online. Every day brings a new dose of hope that Tracy will find a match, thanks to all those with the program who are constantly working to bring new people into the National Bone Marrow Registry, any one of whom could be her match.

A big, hearty, greatful thanks also goes out to the Ohio State University Department of Emergency Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Dr. Trudy Singzon and the Asian American Donor Program in the San Francisco bay area of California as they mount bone marrow registry drives. They could help Tracy, and together they’re sure to help someone in need.

Balitang America, the Diocese of Columbus, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and Totem for sharing news stories online and offline about Tracy and the need for people to join the bone marrow registry. Every story you have shared about Tracy multiplies the effect. You have done so much more than we could do alone.

Finally, a broad smile to Midcoast Family Dentistry, a wonderful group of people who have taken care of my family’s teeth for years, who just delivered a basket of warmth and kindness to our family.

Thank you to everyone who has heard of our struggles and helped us and reminded us that there are so many people in this world who care. This means so much to me, and I’ll never forget your kindness.

Be the Match for Tracy and her family.