Spotlight: Be The Match

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Behind every altruistic effort or illuminating project is an organization working around the clock for the betterment of their community. Each month we will place a spotlight on organizations across the Chicagoland area that are invested in creating opportunities and elevating their community. This month we focus our attention on Be The Match, an organization that operates the largest and most diverse bone marrow registry.

Be The Match is harnessing their efforts to reach out to the Latinx community to increase their participation as they only makeup seven percent of the registry resulting in Latinx patients having a 46 percent chance of finding a compatible match in comparison to the 77 percent of a white patient. This weekend, Be The Match will be at the Puerto Rican Festival sharing the story of six-year-old Alfredo Díaz from Humboldt Park who is fighting a rare genetic disorder. He is in need of a stem cell transplant, but nobody in his family is a compatible match. Patients are most likely to match with a donor of a similar ethnic background. Be The Match Spokesperson Gift Matemba-Mutasa, Director of Marketing, talks about the mission of Be The Match as well as how they can help kids like Alfredo Díaz.

Lawndale Bilingual News: In your own words, describe the mission of Be The Match?
Gift Matemba-Mutasa: Be The Match is a community of donors, volunteers, health care professionals and researchers who deliver cures by helping patients get the life-saving blood stem cell transplant they need. Our passion to save lives drives us to help more patients survive each year. For patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match is dedicated to democratizing stem cell therapy, so all patients, regardless of ethnicity, have equal access to a cure. Patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds, specifically those of mixed ethnicities, have a more difficult time finding a stem cell match. Our goal is to continue to grow and diversify the registry, so these health disparities no longer exist.

How does Be The Match engage with the community?
Be The Match is a national organization operated through the National Marrow Donor Program. We host registry drives all across the United States, as well as in Mexico City where Be The Match Mexico is located. Be The Match representatives and volunteers use these drives to add more potential donors to the registry, as well as informing local communities about blood cancer research and what they personally can do to help give patients a second chance at life.

What goals are set forth for Be The Match this year?
In 2019, Be The Match will continue to grow and diversify the registry. We intend on adding more donors of diverse ethnic backgrounds to the registry. 

For someone interested in volunteering or registering, what opportunities are available to them?
Joining the registry is simple and takes a matter of minutes. Go to to order your free swab kit. Once you receive your kit, swab the inside of your cheek and send it back to Be The Match. If you match with a patient, you will be contacted by a Be The Match representative. You will then be in the registry until you’re 61-years-old. Volunteers can host a donor drive, work with people preparing to donate marrow, join legislative advocacy efforts, attend Be The Match events, share our mission through social media, or raise funds to support the cause. 

What would you like the community to know about Be The Match?
Joining the registry is a safe, free, and confidential way to potentially save someone’s life. By joining and committing to the cause, you are providing hope to patients and families. Go to to get started!

Photo Credit: Be The Match

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