In 2009 Athena Mari Asklipiadis founded Mixed Marrow; an organization committed to helping patients of mixed and multiethnic decent find bone marrow and blood cell donors. The need for the program emerged due to the lack of available donors for people of racially mixed backgrounds.
Of course, genetic makeup plays a role in finding a bone marrow donor, but many aren’t aware of the critical role race plays in finding match. The Mixed Marrow website explains that minorities only make up about 30% of the bone marrow registry with only about 2% being individuals of mixed race. Out of that 2%, not all of the donors are the same mix, making the odds of a mixed race patient finding a donor less than 2%. As a result, mixed race people are one of the largest growing minority groups, but have the smallest registered donor percentage.
Over 30,000 people are diagnosed with life threatening blood diseases per year and unfortunately, if a multi-racial patient needs a transplant, their parents and relatives are even less likely to be a match. It’s crucial that mixed race individuals continue to join the registry.
Visit www.mixedmarrow.org for more information and to learn how to register as a donor.