Give the gift of life this holiday season: Register for the 2008 Team Nellis DoD Bone Marrow Drive

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jen Richard
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
If you are an eligible military identification card holder between the ages of 18-60, you could save a life this holiday season by participating in the bone marrow registration drive currently in progress at Nellis AFB. 

From Dec. 1-12, Team Nellis is holding the 2008 DoD Bone Marrow Program Registration Drive, registering potential bone marrow donors from the Nellis community. Eligible ID card holders can register, including active-duty service members and their spouses, civil service, guard, reserve and Coast Guard. 

Almost anyone can register to become a bone marrow donor, even those who may not be able to give blood. If you have been stationed overseas in places like Europe, Africa, Afghanistan or Iraq, you can still register in the bone marrow registration drive. Only a few diseases, such as Hepatitis C and AIDS, would disqualify you. 

To register in the bone marrow drive, a registration drive coordinator will ask you to take four cotton swab samples from the inside cheek of your mouth. You will then complete the process by filling out two sheets of paperwork. The process can be completed in about five to ten minutes. 

Completed registration packets will be sent to the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program office where they will first be entered into the DoD Registry and then into the National Registry. The samples could be matched with someone in need of bone marrow from within the Department of Defense or from anywhere around the world. There is approximately a one in 300 chance that your sample will be an exact match for someone in need. 

If you are a match for someone who needs bone marrow, the DoD Program office will directly notify you. They will then send you to the local military hospital to take a blood test to confirm if you are a definite match. If the blood test confirms the match, you will then receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. or Baltimore for you and one guest. A military physician will then conduct the procedure. 

In most cases, you'll experience no pain during the procedure. There is a relatively new way of removing bone marrow, similar to giving blood. Your blood will be taken from one arm, pass through a machine that separates out the blood stem cells, and return to your other arm. In rare cases when medically necessary, the bone marrow will be collected from your pelvic bone. 

If you are matched while deployed, you will still be able to travel to Washington D.C. or Baltimore during the deployment. If you are worried about the commitment, you do have the option to say "no" if you are a match. 

Team Nellis has the opportunity to become number one in DoD as the installation with the highest number of bone marrow drive registrants, according to 1st Lt. Cindy Alexander, Team Nellis registration drive coordinator. The goal is to register 3,000 people or more for Nellis to take over the number one spot. 

By registering in the 2008 Bone Marrow Registration Drive, you could potentially save a life, get a free trip to Washington D.C. or Baltimore and help Nellis become the #1 installation in DoD. 

Registration will take place through coordinators at the unit level for organizations on base. Registration tables will also be located at the Base Exchange and Commissary on Dec. 1-12 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

For more information about the DoD Marrow Donor program, visit www.dodmarrow.com. Contact your unit coordinator or Lieutenant Alexander at cindy.alexander@nellis.af.mil for any questions about the Nellis AFB Bone Marrow Registration Drive.