What is MatchMaker?
MatchMaker is the only national program dedicated to recruitment of mixed race
bone marrow donors. The need for mixed race bone marrow donors is great because
each year approximately 130,000 people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases
like leukemia and other blood cancers and it is estimated that at least 12,000
of these patients will not be cured without a bone marrow transplant (BMT).
What is a BMT?
A BMT is a “bone marrow transplant” in which a patient’s diseased or malfunctioning blood and immune system can be replaced by a new one that comes from cells collected from a volunteer living donor. These special cells can be taken from the donor’s bone marrow (which is collected during a procedure in the operating room) or from the donor’s blood stream (where the donor’s cells are collected by filtering the blood). In addition, these special blood forming cells can be obtained from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby right after delivery. Suitable donors are chosen based on matching certain blood proteins (often referred to as “tissue typing”) between the patient and donor. Since the factors that determine the “match” are genetically based, patients have the best chance of finding a donor within their biological family. However, only 25 – 30%
of patients are able to find a related (family) donor. The rest of the patients
must then rely on finding a donor that is unrelated to them; most likely
to occur with someone of a similar genetic or racial background.
Why MatchMaker? BMT Donor Disparities
At present, approximately only 25% of those listed in the donor registry
of the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) are racial minorities, with
mixed race people representing a mere 2% of the total. Thus the odds of a
patient of any minority heritage, or combination of heritages, being able
to find a BMT donor when needed are extremely small. The NMDP began operation
in 1986. Since then, especially in the past decade, there have been increased
recruitment efforts to diversify the unrelated donor pool and recruit donors
of minority and mixed heritage. The percentage of registered minority group
donors is currently similar to the proportion of each group in the national
population. However, the number of minority and mixed ethnicity donors still
needs to increase significantly in order to give any single patient from
these backgrounds an equal chance to find a suitably matching donor. The
situation is particularly critical for patients of mixed heritage, whose
numbers in the US population are increasing rapidly. By diversifying the
pool of potential donors, MatchMaker is working to ensure that all individuals
in need of a life-saving transplant have a better chance at finding a matched
MatchMaker was founded in 2001 by MAVIN interns after the family of a young mixed race Seattle girl with leukemia approached MAVIN to ask for help in trying to find a bone marrow donor for her. MatchMaker starting holding bone marrow donor recruitment drives in the Puget Sound region and then expanded nationally. It now works with local donor centers, recruitment groups and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) to address the chronic shortage of multiracial donors on the NMDP registry.
Results & Current Activities
In partnership with college and community groups locally and across
the country, MatchMaker conducts yearly Marrow-thons™ campaigns to recruit
mixed race and other minority donors. To date, over 10,000 new donors
have been added to the NMDP Registry as a result of this work, from which
matches have been identified for dozens of patients. As of 2005,
some 26% of donors recruited by MatchMaker are of mixed race backgrounds
and 37 – 46%
are minorities. This shows that targeted BMT donor recruitment can
work. How You Can Help
There are many ways that you can help MatchMaker help patients who are fighting
for their lives:Register to become
a bone marrow donor if you meet age and health criteria • If you are pregnant,
donate the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord after
• Make a tax-deductible financial donation to support MAVIN Foundation
• Get groups in your community to sponsor bone marrow donor recruitment drives
• Help us spread the word!
For complete information on how to help in any or all of these
ways, including for referrals to bone marrow donor drives and
donor centers in your community, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (206) 622-7101.
MatchMaker website coming soon, please
For more information:
Ph: 206 622 7101
Become a part of MatchMaker's remarkably successful marrow
donor recruitment and education initiative. Twice yearly, we work
campus and community organizations across the country to conduct bond
marrow drives. To get involved, email MatchMaker.
Please update your contact information here.
Awards & Accolades
MatchMaker is the recipient of the 2002 "Heroes of Health
Care Award for Innovation" from the Washington Health Foundation,
and was runner-up for the 2003 Peter F. Drucker Nonprofit Innovation
MatchMaker helped persuade Washington Governor Gary Locke to sign Executive
Order 03-02 in 2002, which mandated paid leave for all state employees
who donate blood, marrow or organs.