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really r ;alth di assured access to quality care, but and culturally sensitive health awareness educaNational Marrow Donor Program,"' Stokes adds. The NMDP is a network of 104 donor centers (which recruit and educate volunteer donors), 95 transplant centers (hospitals that care for patients and recipients), 109 collection centers (hospitals that meet the NMDP's standards for olleciion), and \ s (vi join through a donor center, which may be a part of a local and regional blood bank). There are 11 recruitment groups around the country and a Coordinating Center in Minneapolis, C u r r c n t l ) . the organization's operating funds are provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Naval Research provides special funding grant to pay for tissue typing of volunteers and for special projects, like AAUL, These funds offset the initial testing fee for African Americans and other minorities to join the Registry, Non-minorities, however, incur a testing fee of about $45. and take on some of the responsibility for the lives of their brothers and sisters," says Pinderhughcs. "We need the response types/' L. Apathy, fear and lack of education and awareness of the issue arc a few factors that prohibit people from joining the Registry. -Granted, in the African-American community, there may be an

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earned distrust of medical institutions, but the fact remains that life-threatening diseases are not discriminating. Realizing these prohibitors, Pinderhughes' department aggressively employs strategies to better target the African-American community. The Registry could accomplish more if the volunteer donor pool was larger and more diverse. Donors are desperately needed. Nationally, statistics show women donors in greater propor"Wc are also concerned about the lesser response from males," says Pinderhughes. "We do need to have more males participating in the program. As a man, 1 don't feel we arc carrying our load. In the matching process, race is a more important factor than gender. However, a female could easily be a good donor match for a male patient, yet, if a male donor exists, the computer would seek him as the best possible match. "We arc dealing with a population that does not recognize medical procedures as comfortable," Pinderhughes says, "and for this reason alone, many males do not participate." On the issue of increasing the number of male donors, Ross adds that many stigmas in our society about African-American males in crime, the workplace, education, bonding with kids, families, and other males are issues that often push men further from the center of who they really are and what they can do. The marrow program, Ross says, is just one way to get us out of left field and back into ihc center through actions that could save someone's life. And education is the key. â&#x20AC;˘'I learned a lot during my son's illness, thanks to my wife's knowledge and interest in getting all the facts," says Garland Hicks. "Initially, 1 didn't gather the facts. I now realize that not seeking Ihc information was my way of dealing with the situation by denying its existence. I think most men probably have a great fear of the unknown and arc less likely to seek the attention, information, or help when ihc\ c l i i n k - o m e i h i n g i- \\rong." he acknowledges. "1 miss my son. The loss was an end for me, but Johnalhan taught us how to live, through his bravery and his courage. He never complained. Giving is living. My education was accidental and tragic. I cherish my son's memories, but 1 don't hesitate to empathi/e with other families enperiencing life-threatening illnesses and encourage others to give the gift of life." Q ;jij about. ..time/April 1996


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