Local News

25th anniversary of the Vermont Bone Marrow Donor program to be held at RRMC


November is National Marrow Donor Month and this year it marks the 25th anniversary of the National Marrow Donor Program at Rutland Regional Medical Center. The first marrow donor registration event was held on Nov. 17, 1998, and the hospital is celebrating the 25th anniversary milestone on this same date, 25 years later.

On Friday, Nov.17, between the hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the hospital will be hosting a Be The Match Marrow Donor registration event. Registration is now done by scanning a QR code with one’s cell phone, filling out a short form, completing two check swabs, and the process is done.

“During the quick registration, we’ll be sharing details about the donation process,” said Kerry Ellis, Marrow Program Coordinator at the Foley Cancer Center at Rutland Regional. “If they are found to be a match, they will be contacted and begin the journey to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Each year more than 30,000 adults and children in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases, such as leukemia and sickle cell disease. For many patients, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is needed to survive.

The most recent data from the NMDP for Vermont’s impact is exceptional, especially given the small population size in the Green Mountain State. Most recent data covers the years between 2018 and 2022:

141 patients searching for donors

 80 transplants

37 donors

16,343 residents willing to donate

NMDP provides patient assistance grants to help families with out-of-pocket expenses for things related to searching for a donor, prescription co-pays, travel and lodging and more. Since these grants became available, 32 patients in Vermont have received $104,122 to help cover the uninsured costs of a marrow transplant.

A transplant is possible only when the patient and donor have matching tissue types. While nearly 30 percent of patients in need will find a matched donor within their immediate family, the other 70% must seek the help of friends or strangers.

The program requires that all potential donors be between the ages of 18 and 40 and in good health. Those wanting to register for NMDP should enter the hospital’s Stratton Road entrance.

Rutland Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in Vermont and in all of New England to offer this program.

More information, email Kerry Ellis directly at kellis@rrmc.org and visit RRMC Bone Marrow Donor Program.

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