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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 11, 2004

Marrow Registration Drive Scheduled In Des Moines Nov. 14

Our Ladies of the Americas Catholic Church will host a marrow donor registration drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14 in the Holy Family School gymnasium, 1271 E. 9th St. in Des Moines.

November is National Marrow Donor Awareness Month. Organizers urge all local residents to attend. Persons of every race are invited to join the Iowa and national registries, but ethnic minorities are especially encouraged to register. People of minority descent are currently underrepresented in the registries; only 26 percent of the total number registered is of minority descent. A matched, unrelated donor is more likely to be found within a person's race because tissue type is inherited.

The very real need for new volunteers to register as donors has been highlighted recently at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. At this time, there are six patients in need of an unrelated donor transplant whose donor search has not yet identified a suitable match. Time is running out and many more people need to register to increase the chances of finding a match and giving these families hope for the future.

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases treatable by a stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing to receive healthy stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have a suitable family match, leaving the additional 70 percent to rely on unrelated donors.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks committed volunteers, ages 18 to 60 and in general good health. When joining the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, a person's tissue type becomes registered as part of the Iowa and National Marrow Donor Programs' registries. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample.

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25 to 30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of 21,600 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.

For more information about the donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at 800-944-8220 or locally at 319-356-3337. For more information regarding the donor drive, please contact John Ayers at Our Ladies of the Americas Catholic Church at 515-266-6695 ext. 13. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at debra-hoyle@uiowa.edu. Information about the program can be found online at www.iowamarrow.org.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.