ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - A national organization aimed to help people with life-threatening blood cancers is hoping to grow their donor pool.

For over 30 years, Be The Match has managed the most diverse marrow registry in the world to help save lives through transplant.

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Their reach has now come to central Minnesota with the help of CentraCare.

CentraCare's Dr. Robert Jacobs joined the Be The Match registry 10 years ago in medical school. He says he got the call last year.

I was called in December of last year. I hadn't thought about being on the registry and all of a sudden I got this call and started the process of being a donor.

Jacobs was able to donate his bone marrow roughly four months later. He says the organization pulls out all the stops for their donors.

They pay for your flights, hotel, food for you and a family member. They even offered to hire a nanny to watch my kids when I left for the bone marrow donation.

It was his experience that led CentraCare to host their own Be The Match drive for their employees last week.

We talked about doing it and Be The Match was like yes let's do a drive up in St. Cloud. So we ran a registry drive within our hospital system and we were able to sign up 51 employees, which is awesome for a first effort.

Jacobs says most donations involve no surgery and are as simple as donating plasma. He hopes his story inspires others to become a bone marrow donor.

CentraCare is looking at hosting other community wide Be The Match drives in the near future. You can also register online and get a free test kit in the mail.


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