Do you have a vague recollection of attending an event years ago and signing up for something related to blood cancer? You are not alone. At every drive we host, at least one person expresses the sentiment that they thought they joined the bone marrow registry but they are not quite sure.

To join the bone marrow registry, there are several eligibility requirements an individual needs to meet. Aside from general health restrictions, one of the most important factors is that individuals are NOT already registered.

While there are different U.S. organizations that register bone marrow donors, individuals only need to sign up with one organization. Multiple registrations by the same individual can result in duplicate HLA profiles on the registry, which makes it difficult if the individual is identified as a matching donor.

Before joining the bone marrow registry, follow these steps to make sure you are not already registered.

C.W. Bill Young / Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program

All active members of the U.S. military personnel and their dependents, Reservists, National Guard and Coast Guard, military retirees, and DoD civilian personnel are encouraged to register with C.W. Bill Young / Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program – also known as Salute to Life.

The Salute to Life program provides benefits and accommodations for service members throughout the registration and donation process. This includes assistance while navigating Command authorization, requesting no-cost TAD/TDY, and making travel arrangements from your duty location.

Be The Match

Be The Match is operated under Federal contracts by the National Marrow Donor Program. That means they have access to listings of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units.

If you are uncertain whether you have previously joined the registry, you should contact Be The Match by calling 1-800-627-7692.

Gift Of Life

To determine whether or not you are on the Gift Of Life registry, you can take a Quick Check quiz. All you have to do is enter your last name, date of birth, and your cellphone number or email address. Then, Gift Of Life will text or email with the response.

The Quick Check will only state whether an individual matching the criteria is a member of Gift of Life. To receive more detailed information, individuals can call 800-9MARROW to speak to a member of the marrow donor recruitment staff.

DKMS

There Goes My Hero partners with DKMS to add life-saving donors to the bone marrow registry. DKMS provides swabbing kits for free and processes the completed swabs to be added to the registry.

If you are confident that you have not previously registered with Salute To Life, Be The Match, Gift of Life, or any other U.S. organization, you can contact DKMS at 1-212-209-6700 to ensure you are registered with them.

If not, we invite you to register as soon as possible by completing a form online and ordering a swab kit in the mail at www.theregoesmyhero.org/get-swabbed/. Once you receive your swab kit, follow the instructions to collect a swab of cheek cells and return the kit via mail.

Or you can swab in-person at one of the numerous bone marrow registry drives and events we host throughout the year in the greater Baltimore area.

If you would like to learn more about joining the bone marrow registry, or have any other questions, please contact There Goes My Hero at 443-339-4375 or email us at stephanie.cupp@theregoesmyhero.org.