Updated: April 09, 2020 12:32 PM
Created: April 08, 2020 07:45 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This week hundreds of Rochesterians are getting a very important letter in the mail.
It's a letter from the "Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry."
Last week, News10NBC told you about Shawn Walker.
She was an assistant principal at the Children's School of Rochester before being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
Chemotherapy has been unsuccessful, and now she needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.
But first, Shawn must find a bone marrow match. After the story aired, hundreds of Rochester residents responded by ordering free kits to join the registry.
Deanna Dewberry’s son is one of them, so the two of them demonstrated how to swab your cheek to join the registry.
When you get the kit in the mail, the letter will have a kit with two swabs as well as two stickers with a barcode.
Make sure the barcodes on the stickers match the barcode on the outside of the kit.
Then remove the paper covering from the sticker that will hold the swabs.
Take the first swab from the envelope and swallow any excess saliva in your mouth.
Next, swab the inside of your cheek without touching your gums or teeth. You need to swab for 10 seconds to make sure you get a good sample of cells.
Then place the sticker on the end of the swab so that it looks like a flag, and stick the swab on the sticker inside your kit.
Repeat the same process with the second swab and place it on the sticker beside the first swab.
You then put your kit in the envelope provided. It’s postage paid, so you don’t need a stamp.
Remember, matching for stem cells or bone marrow donation is complicated and you're most likely to match within your own race or ethnic group.
Currently, only 4% of registrants are black, so Shawn really needs other African-Americans to register to increase her chances of finding a match.
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