Red Cross to hold bone marrow drive

The San Benito County chapter of the American Red Cross reported
a low turnout for its bone marrow drive last month, so officials
are trying again.
The San Benito County chapter of the American Red Cross reported a low turnout for its bone marrow drive last month, so officials are trying again.

The Red Cross will hold a community blood and bone marrow drive Thursday from 1:30-6:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1670 Cienega Road.

Kathryn Engelhard, executive director of the San Benito County Red Cross, said only three people participated in last month’s bone marrow drive.

The bone marrow test costs $65 per person, but the Red Cross received government funding for the testing of 15 Caucasians, and unlimited money for testing people from ethnic groups.

Englehard said donors with a Pacific Islander background are needed.

“We want to use that grant money,” she said. “Because we did test three people, we still have openings for 12 more Caucasians and unlimited ethnic groups.”

Donors are given a general or local anesthetic before the procedure, in which bone marrow is surgically removed with a needle. The test takes 45 to 90 minutes. The names of prospective donors go into a national registry.

“Any patient with blood-related cancers may benefit from it,” Engelhard said.

Bone marrow constantly regenerates itself so a person’s body will regenerate donated marrow within several weeks. It is beneficial for patients with blood diseases such as leukemia and a plastic anemia, Englehard said.

“It’s very hard to match a donor from outside a family,” she said. “That’s why we need a large donor base.”

Those who wish to schedule an appointment should call the Red Cross office at 636-2100.

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