Bone marrow registry drive aims to save lives

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Tens of thousands of peoples are diagnosed each year with a life-threatening illness that can be helped by a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

That's why Chabad of the East Valley hosted the Save a Life Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Registry Drive in Chandler Sunday. Finding out if you are somebody's lifeline involves a simple cheek swab.

"It's not even invasive," event organizer Rabbi Mendi Deitsch said. "It's such a win-win for everyone. It's such a simple thing to do."

About 70 percent of the 20,000 Arizona kids and adults who desperately need a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant do not have a matching donor in their families.

That's why drives like Sunday's event are critical.

"I have three kids, and if anything were to ever happen to them, I would want someone registered to save their life," Alicia Friedman said. "So, I should be registered to save their child's life, too, or an adult, for that matter."

"This is a perfect way of people to give of themselves with minimal effort, but yet helping out in such a tremendous way," Deitsch said. "And it really inspires. When someone gives, they're inspired to give even more."

To learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program, check out