Miah Winterfeldt: 50,000th Marrow Donor

By Kevin Leland

For: Be The Match Registry

In November of 2011, a  19-year-old college student from Shakopee, Minn., was identified as the 50,000th donor to participate in a transplant since The National Marrow Donor Program facilitated it’s first transplant in 1987, years before Miah was even born. She was inspired to join the Be The Match Registry in honor of her uncle who passed away from lymphoma. She was identified as a match for a searching patient and recently donated peripheral blood stem cells to an individual with leukemia.

Way to go Miah! When I got this notice in my email from Be The Match, I wanted to personally congratulate you on my blog. I have been in the registry since 2004. In that time, I haven’t been called for further testing, because of a “near match.” From what I remember and understand, to register, you fill out some basic family origin information, and then get your cheek swabbed -for cells to do genetic testing on. It doesn’t hurt a bit! If you are a near match for a potential recipient, based on the first analysis of your DNA, you undergo some further testing to see if you are a perfect match.

If you are a suitable match, the next step is to make a donation of peripheral blood stem cells. This process is much like donating blood. Which also doesn’t hurt a bit, maybe a tiny bit. Jut a pinch. Many people have heard about a painful syringe to the hip in order to donate marrow. It is seldom done this way.

Look into the Be The Match Registry, and see if you can do what Miah did, and I have not — Be selected from the registry, participate in a transplant, and go on to save a life!

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