An Open Letter to President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and the entire world,
Let's make a resolution to #MakeADifference2017 -- find a bone marrow donor for every single person who needs one. You could be the match, or share this story with the person who is.
Meet Sheldon. This is his story, one of thousands of stories.
Sheldon is a dancer. A son. A brother. A friend. An advocate. A college graduate.
Sheldon makes the world a better place. In his spare time, he advocates for people just like himself who are in need of a bone marrow donor match.
Sheldon has two very rare diseases. As a high school student, Sheldon was first diagnosed.
In between going to college and professionally dancing, Sheldon gets life saving treatments 1-2 times a month and takes medication daily. It's keeping him alive while his bone marrow is failing.
As Sheldon describes it, "You can't keep fixing a broken car. You need to fix the factory." For Sheldon, fixing the factory is getting a bone marrow transplant.
It's been nearly 4 years, and Sheldon is still waiting for his match.
Yet, Sheldon isn't alone. At any given time, 7,500 people in the U.S. are actively searching for a bone marrow match.
To donate your bone marrow to Sheldon or the thousands like him, you need to need to be a perfect or very closely matched based on your human leukocute antigen (HLA) tissue.
Because tissue type is most likely to match someone of the same race and ethnicity, donors of racial and ethnic heritages that are underrepresented are especially needed. According to the Institute for Justice:
African-American patients find an unrelated donor 25 percent of the time.
Asian patients find a donor about 40 percent of the time.
Hispanic patients find a donor about 45 percent of the time.
Caucasian patients find a donor about 75 percent of the time.
Multi-racial people face the worst odds.
These odds aren't just numbers. It's life or death.
At least 3,000 people die each year because they cannot find a matching donor.
You can change this by registering to be on the bone marrow registry. Help Sheldon and the thousands waiting to find their match.
If you aren't eligible to donate, you can make a difference by listening and sharing Sheldon's story. #MakeADifference2017 #Swab4Sheldon #Roar4Rare #BeTheMatch