MINNEAPOLIS, April 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Be The Match is making life-savers out of couch potatoes with its national movement, #Couch2Cure. As millions of Americans stay home and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Be The Match is encouraging the community to make good use of their downtime and raise awareness of patients in need of life-saving bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants.
#Couch2Cure is an invitation to share a photo or video from home while people enjoy their favorite couch-bound activities (someone tried riding a bike, others just sing or tease their pets!) From there, participants are encouraged to use the hashtag #Couch2Cure and ask their social media followers to spread the word, make a financial donation to Be The Match, or swab their cheeks to sign up for the Be The Match Registry. Supporters can visit http://BeTheMatch.org/Couch2Cure to learn more about joining the movement.
"I was blessed to be a perfect match for my dad, and I saved his life by donating my blood stem cells that helped cure him from lymphoma," said Nia Imani Franklin, Songwriter, Performer and Miss America 2019. "Unfortunately, many patients do not have a match in their families. We can make the most of our time in isolation by supporting #Couch2Cure. You can save a life from your couch by either swabbing your cheek or making a financial donation to Be The Match. Let's have some fun and make a difference."
Despite the need to postpone live drives and fundraising events to support the well-being of the general public and our employees, the Be The Match mission remains urgent. In March, Be The Match facilitated 604 transplants, up 21% year-over-year, despite the COVID-19 crisis creating increased costs and logistical challenges to transport bone marrow and blood stem cell donations across the world. Donors continue to say "yes" to donating to complete strangers.
"We are in the business of saving lives, so we cannot allow the current crisis facing us to slow our efforts. Patients are still in critical need of matches," said Joy King, Chief Advancement Officer, Be The Match. "The current cultural phenomenon has created greater awareness of the fragility of life. Sadly, this reality isn't a new one for our vulnerable patients and their families. Now is the time to take action and give hope to our patients – but we encourage you to stay home while doing it."
The goal of #Couch2Cure is to raise $1.5 million to support the Be The Match Foundation's patient and donor assistance funds – both more critical than ever, and to add 50,000 new donors to the Be The Match Registry. Be The Match last year facilitated transplants to give 6,426 patients a possible cure from blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma and other deadly blood disorders. The Be The Match Foundation provided $3.9 million in patient assistance grants to 2,473 patients to help ease the financial burden of transplant-related expenses.
Joining the Be The Match Registry only requires a simple cheek swab – and healthy donors ages 18-44 are urgently needed. People interested in becoming a donor can visit http://BeTheMatch.org/Couch2Cure, fill out a brief medical questionnaire, and a swab kit will be mailed to their homes. Approximately 1 in 430 Registry members will go on to donate.
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.
SOURCE Be The Match