Center gets more calls about marrow donations

GMA anchor's diagnosis prompts outpouring


SAN ANTONIO – Since Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts told her viewers this week about her rare blood disorder, the announcement has brought attention not only to her disease but also the need for marrow donors.

Yvonne Ybarra, marrow donor program director with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center in San Antonio, said Wednesday that they have been getting more e-mails and more phone calls from people interested in taking the first step to donate.

"It is so important to bring that awareness to this program," said Ybarra. "There are so many patients, thousands of patients on the registry who don't find a match in their family. So, the fortunate thing is that Robin was able to find a match in her family with her sister, but 70 percent of patients don't find a match."

Ybarra said the goal is to find more matches which is why they are putting the call out to get more people to register to be a donor.

And for those concerned about donating marrow, Ybarra assures these are safe procedures.

"Only 25 percent of our donors actually donate marrow from their bones because now the more common donation is a stem cell donation that we do here on our recliners and using the machines that we have here," she said. "And the donor sits and watches TV and just hangs out with us for the day and saves a life while they are here."

Another challenge for the center, Ybarra said is out of the 10 million donors they have less than 30 percent are of a minority background.

If you would like register you can do so online or here at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

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