Registry aims to serve the thousands who need bone marrow transplants

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Every year, more than 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease where a bone marrow transplant is needed.

That's why a group of Riley Children's Health residents organized a bone marrow registry drive.

They teamed up with Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, the same organization that helped Alayna Pittman find her match two years ago.

"She has a sibling in her family but her sibling was not a match, so she really needed a stranger to be her hero," said Dr. Jodi Skiles, director of the pediatric stem cell transplant program at Riley. "So we looked to the bone marrow registry and found an unrelated donor for her."

One often needs a stranger's help because within a family there is only a 30 percent chance of a match.

"You can always save somebody's life, like you never know who's out there, never know who needs it, you're just donating to a random person. You just need more people like that in the world," said Alayna Pittman, a stem cell transplant patient.

To help people like Alanya, you can register to be a donor at Be the Match.