MINNEAPOLIS, April 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Be The Match, a non-profit that maintains the national marrow donor registry and provides potential cures through blood stem cell transplants for patients battling blood cancers and other blood disorders, is donating 100,000 swabs for COVID-19 testing across the United States and Mexico. With some facilities running low on swab supplies, Be The Match is stepping in to help ensure as many patients as possible are able to be tested for COVID-19 during the pandemic. Several thousand of the swab kits have already been delivered to medical facilities with many more expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
"We often call on our nation to help us save patients battling blood diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia, and we are eternally grateful to every person who has answered the call to help us facilitate life-saving blood stem cell transplants," said Amy Ronneberg, Acting CEO of Be The Match. "Now, the swabs that we use to add donors to our registry can help the medical community during this pandemic."
While new social distancing guidelines have changed how Be The Match recruits donors, its work to deliver bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants remains as critical as ever. As Be The Match continues to add new donors to its registry, its leaders understand the need for organizations to work together to replenish essential medical supplies and has committed to do its part by offering swabs to medical facilities and labs in need of the approved materials. So far, around 59,000 swabs have been dispensed to hospitals and labs at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, University of CA San Francisco in California, City of Hope in California, University of Miami in Florida, University of Massachusetts Medical Center and various public and private hospitals in Mexico distributed through our Be The Match Mexico offices.
The swabs, which Be The Match registry members use to swab their cheeks to register as potential donors, are ideal for testing for viruses as they have nylon tips, rather than the typical woven cotton. This makes them similar to the swabs typically used for COVID-19 testing and effective for testing purposes.
"It's more critical than ever to work together to save lives," said Jason Dehn, Be The Match's Director of Laboratory and Biorepository Services. "We are fortunate to have enough swabs to continue our important work of adding people to the donor registry while also helping to fill a critical need for facilities offering COVID-19 testing."
About Be The Match® For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.
Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research through its research program, CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.