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Only 400 bone marrow donors in the Caribbean.

PHILIPSBURG:--- The Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry has launched a donor drive with the goal of reaching 1,000 donors by the end of the year. The Registry currently has only 400 registered donors throughout the Caribbean.
Mr Arthur Dunk, Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry Director, said a bone marrow transplant may be the only hope for a cure for people suffering from blood cancers, or auto-immune and other blood diseases.
“With only 400 registered donors in the Caribbean region, we significantly need to increase these numbers to give our friends and family suffering from sometimes terminal blood and auto-immune diseases a fighting chance.”
“The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, with individuals possessing a distinct and unique genetic makeup - this makes it difficult for those needing a donor to find a match,” he said. “The more people we can add to the registry the greater the chance these sick people have at fighting their diseases.”
“We have a population of nearly 40 million people in the Caribbean but only 400 people on our registry. We need to realise the significance of this shortfall and come together as a region to try and help save lives,” Mr Dunk said.
In order to register more donors across the Caribbean, the Registry has undertaken a concentrated marketing effort with the help of leading Cayman Islands strategic communications agency, Tower, to rebrand and share its message across the region. The Registry has launched a new logo, refreshed its website and Facebook, and produced new marketing collateral.
“Tower is happy to offer the support of its marketing and creative services to assist such an important organisation and we are looking forward to doing everything we can to help spread the Registry’s message across the region,” Ms Lynne Byles, Tower Managing Director said.
The Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry has launched its drive at the same time it is receiving great support from two high profile events being held in the Cayman Islands this week.
The Flowers family is donating proceeds from its annual Flowers Sea Swim on June 11 to the Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry. The Flowers Sea Swim, now in its 24th year, has been named one of the World’s Top 13 Open Water Swims and attracts nearly 1,000 swimmers. The donation will be used to cover the usual donor registration fee and encourage more people to join the registry.
Cayman resident Ms Tash Macfayden, who became involved with the Registry after she was diagnosed with a disease of the bone marrow, said the donation would have a huge impact as it would ensure someone’s inability to pay the $75 donor registration fee would not inhibit their desire to register as a donor.
“Ms Eve Flowers, in whose memory the Flowers 1 Mile Sea Swim is being held, recently passed away from leukaemia after failing to find a suitable donor,” she said. “We are so grateful to the Flowers family for their support which will make achieving our goal of 1,000 donors by the end of the year so much more achievable.”
The Registry has also received the support of the Rotaract District 7020 Conference being held in Cayman this week. The conference, being held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, will be attended by 130 people from across the Caribbean.
“Rotaract are giving the Registry the fantastic opportunity to address a large group of young men and women who can take our message back to their own island nations and help us begin the grass roots marketing we need for our donor drive,” Ms McGrath said.
“We will also be offering free registration at the Rotaract conference which involves only a quick and painless mouth swab,” she said. “That is all it takes, a mouth swab, to become a donor and potentially save someone’s life.”
Those looking to register as a donor on the Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry can visit the Registry’s website at www.caribbeanmarrow.org for more information.

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