Be The Match Foundation

Curing all blood cancer patients by eliminating racial disparities


We will create a future where every patient with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood disorders has access to life-saving bone marrow transplants.

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Lead Organization

Be The Match Foundation

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Thousands of people are dying because Be The Match cannot find a suitably matched donor for every patient whose life depends on a marrow transplant; this disproportionately affects patients of color. For Caucasian patients, the chances they will find a matched, available donor are 77%, but for African American patients, this drops to 23%. We must close this gap. As the recognized global leader in bone marrow transplantation, no other organization is better positioned than Be The Match to save the lives of all patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and life-threatening disorders like sickle cell, and model how to address racial inequity in healthcare. With your help, we will save more lives by:-Building community trust and accelerating donor recruitment, connecting more patients in need of a transplant with genetically matched donors-Eliminating barriers for patients to ensure they get the exact treatment they need, supporting them from diagnosis through recovery

Problem Statement

For patients who need a bone marrow transplant to save their life, there is only a 30% chance a genetically matched donor will be found in their family. They depend on us. Despite the fact that we are the largest and most diverse registry, with access to more than 20 million donors and 765,000 cord blood units worldwide, Be The Match cannot yet find a match for every single patient who needs one, due to the immense genetic diversity of our population. Only ~1/3 of the need for unrelated transplant in the U.S. is being met, and there are three key reasons for this gap:•EXISTENCE: We cannot find a patient’s genetically matched donor on the registry •DELIVERABILITY: We can identify a donor match, but we cannot reliably deliver their cells to the patient exactly when they are needed •OBTAINABILITY: The patient’s path to transplant is filled with barriers (e.g., donor availability, cost, stalled timelines, etc.) We know that patients of color face the largest disparities. The chances a patient will find a matched, available blood stem cell donor are: 77% for Caucasians, 57% for American Indians, 46% for Hispanics or Latinos, 41% for Asians and Pacific Islanders, and only 23% for African Americans. We need your help. We are the world's leader in this field and if we don't solve this problem, nobody will. We won’t stop until we have created a future where EVERY blood cancer patient has access to the treatment they need.

Solution Overview

Our challenge is complex, so our solution must be comprehensive. With input from patients, donors, transplant physicians and coordinators, and more, we are proposing a three-phase approach:1.Enhancing Community Trust2.Eliminating Barriers for Patients and Donors3.Improving Patient Outcomes We must enhance our partnerships with diverse communities at the grassroots level to be there for patients and donors and build the trust necessary to accelerate the expansion and diversification of our Be The Match Registry and get patients to transplant faster. We must be more accessible to and reflective of the communities we are trying to serve. Local partnerships across the U.S. with other patient advocacy groups and providers, with international registries like the Sunflower Fund (a growing South African registry), and through Be The Match Mexico are critically important. We have to eliminate barriers to treatment for our patients, and barriers to donation for those who are considering joining our registry and/or saying ‘yes’ if they are called as a match. This involves providing 1:1 navigation support, counseling, financial assistance, and educational resources that are accessible (e.g., offered in Spanish) and address common concerns (e.g., reassuring the African American community especially that their genetic information is safe with us). Within the next five years, our objectives include growing the number of transplants we facilitate by 50% and doubling the number of transplants for patients of color. Please see the Project Phase descriptions for additional detail about how we will achieve these results.

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