DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson has partnered with the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match — a national marrow donor program — and several neighboring county officials to host a virtual “We Are The Cure” town hall meeting.
On Thursday, Aug. 13, residents from Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, South Fulton, Henry, and Newton counties will have the opportunity to learn about Be The Match and potentially become a match for someone in need from 6 to 7:30 p.m. during the virtual event. Cochran-Johnson said the event will “support her efforts in closing the gap between donors and recipients in marginalized communities.”
“Learning that African-Americans only have a 23 percent chance of finding a match on the donor registry was alarming,” Cochran-Johnson said. “Each of my colleagues from metro Atlanta’s neighboring counties shares a combined passion in increasing that percentage and have graciously committed to this joint collaboration in saving lives.”
Joining Be the Match and Cochran-Johnson in spearheading this effort are Commissioner DeMont Davis of Clayton County, Commissioner Tarenia Carthan of Douglas County, Commissioner Natalie Hall of Fulton County, Councilwoman Carmalitha Gumbs of South Fulton County, Commissioner Bruce Holmes of Henry County and Commissioner Demond Mason of Newton County.
The We Are The Cure Town Hall will feature Erica Jensen, who serves as senior vice president of marketing, donor registry growth, and development for Be The Match. Information also will be available on how to request a free swab kit with the hopes of becoming a potential donor.
Cochran-Johnson said that current donors and cancer survivors who have been the recipients of successful matches will also be highlighted.
Over the past 30 years, Be The Match has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world and has facilitated more than 100,000 transplants globally. Of the 22 million potential donors currently on the Be The Match Registry, only 4 percent are African-American, and more is needed to create lifesaving matches.
According to Be The Match, every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer like sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and lymphoma. Disproportionately, African-Americans are diagnosed with cancers of the blood and, for many, a bone marrow transplant is their only hope for a cure.
Registration for the “We Are The Cure” Town Hall can be accessed at: https://bit.ly/3jJ39T0.