FORT SILL, Okla., Sept. 29, 2016 -- Opportunities to directly help someone in dire need don't usually occur so simply, and yet, it could happen to those people who answer the call to join a national bone marrow registry here Oct. 3-6.Lisa Martinez, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill health promotion operations officer, is leading the effort with the help from Shelley Hossenlopp, a host of volunteers and representatives from Be The Match, the National Marrow Donor Program.Registration sites will be:
-- The Welcome Center, Bldg. 4700 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
-- The Main Exchange from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
-- Snow Hall from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.;
-- Reynolds Army Community Hospital from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and
-- The Fort Sill Commissary from 3-7 p.m.Service members, retirees and their family members are all welcome to join the registry."As the health promotions officer for the installation, my program is an umbrella over many others. I own none but support many," said Martinez, who added she received a request from Col. Paul Hosenlopp, FCoE and Fort Sill chief of staff, to help organize the event. "I have friends and family members who have or had cancer so anything I can do in support of them, but also in support of any others who are afflicted with this illness, I am all for it."She added her assistance will go beyond mere logistics as she plans to register, too, something she previously didn't have the opportunity to pursue."This has been a new experience for me and I've learned quite a bit," said Martinez.According to bethematch.org, ideal registrants are U.S. citizens 18-44 years old in good general health. People should have access to Fort Sill, however, those who don't may choose to visit the Oklahoma Blood Institute, which will also register people. The institute is at 211 SW A Ave. in Lawton and will accept registrants Oct. 3-6 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.To become registered, a technician will take four oral swab samples from the cheek of a person; the process takes about five to 10 minutes.VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Shelley Hossenlopp said volunteers are needed to assist with the registry at the locations listed above. There they may help those registering fill out paperwork and ensure swab samples are done correctly. People interested in helping out may contact Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or if they are a spouse and a member of the Fort Sill Patriot Spouses' Club, there is an online link to sign up.People interested in volunteering should attend training either Sept. 29 or 30 from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Graham Resiliency Training Center, Bldg. 2934 Marcy Road.She joined the marrow registry in the 1990s and received a call last year to be a marrow donor."Unfortunately, the patient did not end up needing my marrow," said Shelley, who added legal restrictions prevent donors from finding out why the reason for the rejection. "I was saddened they did not need my marrow as I was ready and willing to give."Shelley added those people who show up to register are also "volunteers" desperately needed to swell the ranks of the national donor program list of potential donors.She said these volunteers, who register themselves into the DoD Marrow Registry, will help doctors in their search for specific marrow types to donate to a patient in need.Once collection swabs are processed by DoD Marrow Registry technicians they will then test for Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) and be added to lists of other volunteers with the same antigen. If a patient is in need of that particular HLA, this should help locate a possible match."Your marrow is considered an organ so this is like being a live organ donor," she said.Marrow matches are rare, in fact bethematch.org said a person who registers has about a 1-in-430 chance of being called to donate. Given those numbers, the need to add additional registrants is all the more crucial."If you are called, you are that person's only hope to survive as a marrow transplant is generally the last source of therapy," said Shelley.DONATION BASICS
For those people who do receive a call to donate marrow, bethematch.org states the two methods of donation are peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) and bone marrow, with the patient's doctor choosing the best method for the patient.PBSC donation is a nonsurgical procedure and the most common way to donate. For five days leading up to donation, donors receive injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of cells in your bloodstream that are used for transplant. Some of your blood is then removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm.Bone marrow donation is a surgical, usually outpatient procedure. You will receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. Doctors use a needle to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bone. To learn more, watch the marrow donation video. Though no medical procedure is without risk, there are rarely any long-term side effects donating either PBSC or bone marrow. Your cells replenish themselves in four to six weeks.In most circumstances, because only 1-5 percent or less of a donor's marrow is needed to save the patient's life, the donor's immune system normally stays strong."Many people each day die of cancer, including children. Many of those are put on a waiting list to receive a marrow transplant, and if a patient is in need of a marrow donor, generally this is the only therapy left that has a chance of saving that individual. So, truly this is a life-saving opportunity," said Shelley.