Give A Spit About Cancer

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70% of people who need a life-saving bone marrow match must rely on a complete stranger.

Thanks to you, 2,739 people (and counting!) gave us their spit!

Give a Spit teams

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Meet Sheldon

Meet Sheldon. He loves to dance, act, and play the tuba. And he needs a life-saving bone marrow match. Watch to see how YOU can help.

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Check out the awesome Spit Parties you ran this year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Give a Spit About Cancer?

Give A Spit About Cancer is a campaign run by in partnership with Be The Match. We asked young people to run cheek swab events on their college campuses or in their communities to increase the number of potential donors on the National Registry. Once a person swabs their cheek at an event and sends in the health consent form, they will be added to the registry and can possibly be DNA matched to a patient in need. The potential donor is called and asked if they want to donate and has the chance to agree, defer, or deny donation. Members could host a Spit Party (with 25+ people), a smaller Get-Together (with 2-25 people), or swab alone.

Who is Be The Match?

Be The Match is the world's largest listing of potential bone marrow donors, part of the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization that provides bone marrow transplants to patients in need.

Be The Match provided the free swab kits to you if you signed up to host an event or swab alone. If you decided to Host a Party, an expert from Be The Match reached out to you and helped you set up your event. They brought swab kits to your event and helped you answer questions and swab cheeks!

What's a Party? What's a Get-Together?

This year, we made it even easier for you to swab your cheek and get your friends involved. By signing up for a Spit Party, we connected you with an expert from Be The Match to help you plan your event and swab all of those cheeks.

If you preferred to hold a smaller, more informal event, you could sign up to host a Spit Get-Together and get your swab kit mailed to you for free, told the friends you invited to the event to sign up too and they got their swab kit in the mail. Once you all got your kits, you could all get together and swab!

You could also swab alone if you preferred to do that.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

A bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor's healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.

For a patient's body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. 70% percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find an unrelated donor.

What are the chances that I’ll be a match?

Every person who joins the registry gives patients hope, and new patient searches begin every day. You may never be identified as a match for someone, or you might be one of a number of potential matches. But you may also be the only one on the registry who can save a particular patient's life.

What happens if I agree to donate?

Donors may be asked to donate in one of two ways:

  1. Peripheral blood cell (PBSC) donation involves removing a donor's blood through a sterile needle in one arm. The blood is passed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. The remaining blood is returned through the other arm.
  2. Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure in which Check out our donation FAQ here for more info on the donation process. liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor's pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure, so donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days afterwards.

Who is Sheldon?

Sheldon is an amazing 19-year-old dancer and tuba player. Sheldon was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in 2012. Sheldon is looking for a life-saving bone marrow match, and we want to help him find it. There are so many people out there like Sheldon who need bone marrow transplants.

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