Seeking Life-Saving Bone Marrow Donor - NBC Connecticut

Seeking Life-Saving Bone Marrow Donor

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    Natasha Collins needs a hero. She needs a bone marrow donor who could save her life.

    Natasha Collins needs a hero.

    Collins, 26, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006 and needs a bone marrow transplant, which could save her life. She is waiting on the right donor, but that is proving difficult because she is half black and half Caucasian.

    Because of that, her chances of finding a matching donor are less likely. 

    “It’s scary,” Collins said. “I try not to think about all the consequences all the time. I try to keep it day by day.”

    Of those listed in the donor registry of the National Marrow Donor Program, mixed race people representing a mere 2 percent of the total, according to the Mavin Foundation.

    Because of this, the odds of a patient of any minority heritage, or combination of heritages, being able to find a BMT donor when needed are extremely small.

    Originally from upstate New York, Collins takes classes at Yale Medical School and lives in New Haven while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

    The chemotherapy and an umbilical cord blood transplant prevailed for a year and a half, but she relapsed in February of this year.

    An online drive is underway to get as many people as possible to sign up for the National Marrow Donor Program’s registry of donors. The drive continues until Thursday, April 30 and Collins’ family and friends are doing what they can to spread the word.

    “It’s really simple to sign up,” Collins said. “You just have to type in your name and address and they send you a cheek-swab kit. It’s free and easy and it saves lives.”

    Collins’ friends helped put together the current drive. On campus, more than 700 people turned out to the drive, and thousands more signed up online. They have also been using the Internet and social networking sites to their advantage to try to spread the word.

    A Facebook page and a youtube video are among the ways they are reaching out.

    A Web site about Collins has links to the registry Web site. There is a code that can be typed in for free registration - BK041309.

    Collins says her parents, her brother and her friends have been “so supportive” throughout her battle.

    “My friends -- I can’t even believe their response,” Collins said. “They put together these drives. They’re really organized.”

    To get more information on becoming a potential donor, visit www.marrow.org/JOIN/Join_Now/join_now.html.