Tues, March 3, walk to Arizona State University Tempe

Dear All, It was a short walk again today. Yesterday after spreading the word about our national marrow donor program in downtown Chandler with Lindsey and Ciara I walked 3.5 miles toward Arizona State University. That left me with just over 9 miles to walk today.
Most of my walk today was through housing tracks built in the 60’s and 70’s. I did get to walk just over a mile along the Arizona Canal Trail. It was refreshing to see the water but without shade it quickly became the hottest part of the walk. I finished at the Memorial Union at ASU where Aubrie picked me up.
I have been stressing how important it is to increase diversity on the Be The Match registry. I’d like to talk a bit
more about that now. A lot of people think that you need to have a matching blood type to be a match for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant but that is not true. The doctors are looking to match proteins in your DNA called, human leukocyte antigens (HLA). These HLA markers are inherited from your parents; one half from your mother and one half from your father. That’s why the best related donors are brothers or sisters. You have a 25% chance of matching a sibling. Sadly, only 30% of patients in need of a transplant find a perfect match within their family.
So 70% of the time Be The Match begins the search for an unrelated donor. Some ethnic groups have more complex HLA markers than other groups. That’s why you have the best chance of finding your perfect match within your own ethnic group. Unfortunately, African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asians are all underreppresented on the Be The Match registry. I hope you see now how unique you are and why we need you to text LIFE to 61474. If you are not eligible to join you can play an important role by helping to spread the word about joining Be The Match by texting LIFE to 61474. A patient’s chances of finding a stem cell or bone marrow match ranges from 19% to 80% depending on their ethnic background. That’s why I am walking across the Sonoran Desert to bring awareness to the need for increased diversity in our national marrow donor program, Be The Match. I want everyone in need of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to have a second chance at life just like our Jada.

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