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The Bone Marrow Donation Journey

Building on the different things people have shared so far, and the excellent process that Vineet shared on the 100k Cheeks site, here's a simplified journey of the bone marrow donation process. Each step has opportunities for improvement.

Photo of Nathan Waterhouse
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One of the biggest challenges is the lack of education and awareness – both around the need for donors but also around the actual donation process. Awareness can happen through such channels as word of mouth, online, viral video campaigns, or others. But how might we improve this important step?

People can register to be a bone marrow donor online or at a local in-person donor drive. After a simple cheek swab, your name will be placed on a registry and you’ll wait to be contacted in the event that you’re a match for a patient in need. How might we demonstrate that registration is an easy, painless, but important stage in the process?

If and only if a match is found, you’ll be asked to go to a lab where a blood sample will be taken to confirm your tissue type. You’ll also undergo a physical exam to make sure you’re healthy. From there, you’ll work closely with an organization like Be the Match to organize your actual donation. To learn more about the donation process, check out

**Spread the word**
Celebrating the fact that you potentially just saved someone’s life is a great way of spreading the word and increasing awareness of how important Bone Marrow Donation is. How might we celebrate the success stories and keep growing the bone marrow network?


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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Nice diagram of the journey. Agree with HenrYY that "Spread the Word" doesn't necessarily have to be done last. In fact, at any of the other stages, "spread the word" may be possible: i.e. forwarding an awareness raising message, wearing a pin after registering, or sharing your story after donating.

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