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Maelin-Kate, 3, needs bone marrow donor

MADISON – The three-year-old child in a Madison family needs a lifesaving donation of blood marrow.

The Carlson family of Madison has three biological children. However, they decided their family was not quite complete. They decided to adopt three-year-old Maelin-Kate from China in September 2017.

After Maelin-Kate was adopted, the Carlsons learned that she is battling a blood disorder called Fanconi anemia and needs a marrow donation to survive. A rare genetic disease, Fanconi anemia causes impaired response to DNA damage.

Since DNA and ethnicity are the source of marrow matching and donation, many families with adopted children need to rely on the “Be The Match” organization to find a fully matched donor for an adopted child.

Operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, the non-profit Be The Match organization is dedicated to helping every patient get the life-saving transplant that he or she needs. Be The Match relies on its trusted leaders in advancing treatments for those facing life-threatening blood cancers. The organization provides groundbreaking research, innovative technologies, patient support and education that save lives. (bethematch.org)

Maelin-Kate’s mother, Megan Carlson, is encouraging people to sign up as potential donors. Sign-up and joining the Be The Match registry online is simple. Visit bethematch.org/maelinkate to order a free join kit.

After answering a few background questions, a potential donor only needs to complete a simple swab of the cheek and return the swab to Be The Match.

Seventy percent of people who need a transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family. They rely on anonymous strangers who have signed up with the Be The Match registry as potential donors.

The national registry got its start in the late 1970s when Dr. Robert and Sherry Graves learned that their 10-year-old daughter Laura had leukemia. “They were ready to do anything they could to save her,” Kate McDermott said. McDermott works as Public Relations Specialist with Be The Match.

“Desperate to save Laura’s life, they turned to alternative treatment options and agreed to try the first-ever bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor,” McDermott said.

Laura Graves received her transplant in 1979, and the procedure was successful. “The treatment’s success inspired the Graves to give other families the same hope for a cure,” McDermott said. “Thanks to Dr. Graves, other patient families, doctors, congressional support and funding from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow was born.”

For more information, visit bethematch.org.

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