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www.wmfd.com - The chances of finding a matching bone marrow donor may be harder than you think, as forsome, the odds are one in 2-million. }}" />

Finding Match For Bone Marrow Donors Not An Easy Task

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 12/8/2013 The chances of finding a matching bone marrow donor may be harder than you think. For some, the odds are one in 2-million. Alexandra Field has more on two families' journeys to obtain life-saving transplants. "Hi, what's going on." Mandy Manocchio is no stranger to miracles. Before she had her own family, she was found on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, on Christmas Eve. She was adopted as a baby by an American family. "May 6, 1974, I was actually flown into JFK," she reflected. This Christmas season she's hopeful another gift from overseas will give her yet another chance at life. "Life has been turned around and upside down," she says. "I'm still trying to grasp everything that's happening." Last summer, the New York City fashion executive, who is married with two young sons, was given a diagnosis, acute myeloid leukemia. To survive she'd need a bone marrow transplant, something her adoptive family couldn't give her. "I really thoughth my odds were against me," she says. Finding a bone marrow match is a numbers game. Some match with one in every 20,000 people. For others, it's one in every one or two million. Some 70 percent of patients who need a transplant won't find a match within their families, like Manocchio, or 2-year-old Owen Hogan. "This is his life," says Owen's mother, Kathleen Hogan. "We come here at least twice a week." Hogan has aplastic anemia. Until he fan find a bone marrow match, his life depends on regular hospital visits, constant blood transfusions and a combination of medicines. "The doctors have described Owen as a ticking time bomb and if he had a match and a donor right now, he would be in transplant," says Kathleen Hogan. A transplant would replace Owen's diseased cells with healthy donor cells. "Finding a match is the hardest part, but registering to be a potential donor is now surprisingly easy," says CNN reporter Alexandra Field. "There's no blood work involved anymore. All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek. The DNA is sent off to a lab and your information is entered into a database." Groups like "Delete Blood Cancer" organize drives to increase the size of that database. Right now, there are 10-and-a-half-million registered donors in the United States. The likelihood of finding a match depends on race and ethnicity. "If people are from an ethnic minority in the United States, then the numbers are not as optimistic," says Dr. Joseph Antin of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. That's something Manocchio faced. Fortunately after waiting several months, doctors found what they call a nearly-perfect donor match in Europe. "I have so much to live for and these two beautiful children," Manocchio says. Manocchio's match donated on Thanksgiving Day. She's waiting for the transplant. The Hogan family is still waiting for their miracle.
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