MLK National Day of Service: Take a moment and be a hero by registering with Be the Match

January 20, 2013 8:28:18 PM PST
In honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Americans are finding a variety of ways to serve others. This year, the nonprofit Be the Match is encouraging people to save lives by becoming bone marrow and cord blood donors, which is one act of service that takes just a few moments.

Stephen King is honoring the heroic man with whom he shares a last name by becoming a hero to a young man he has never met.

"I was selected to donate stem cells to a 15-year-old male," he said.

King is a registered donor on the Be the Match registry, and on this day of service, he wants others to honor Dr. King's legacy by doing the same. He is hoping to raise awareness about the life-saving benefits of becoming a registered donor of the bone marrow and cord blood that patients with leukemia and other potentially-deadly diseases need.

"I feel it is a blessing and a privilege to donate stem cells to an individual who may die without that opportunity," King said.

Be the Match is the largest registry of its kind and pairs up donors with patients. The African-American population in particular needs more donors like King to help patients who are waiting for a match.

Registering is painless and takes only a few minutes.

"It's a simple form and a quick cheek swab in the mouth," explained Hope Guidry-Groves, transplant coordinator.

If you are someone's match, taking one moment today could save someone's life tomorrow.

"It's an opportunity to save a life," King said. "It's a blessing."

Be the match suggests three ways to help out: Spread the word through social media about the importance of joining the registry, register yourself and organize a bone marrow donor registry drive.

To learn, visit www.BeTheMatch.org or call 800-MARROW-2.
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