Monday, May 25, 2009

Be the match: Join the Marrow Registry for free June 8-22.

Earlier today when I wanted to forward my post on cord blood donation, I realized that most of the links had gone dead. While updating them, I was pleased to learn about the upcoming Marrowthon from the National Marrow Donor Program. NMDP has set a goal of adding 46,000 new members to the marrow registry during this drive. Each new member increases the odds that someone with a life threatening blood disease will live, and live well – disease free.

Joining is easy: just take the eligibility quiz, fill out a form, and swab your cheeks for a cell sample. (I had to give a bit of blood for testing when I joined years ago– so now it’s even easier.) That’s it, you’re on the registry. Just keep your address updated so that if you ever match someone in need, NMDP will know how to contact you. If that happens and you choose to donate, your choice may well save someone’s life. Remember, it is a choice - there’s no obligation to donate even if you match.

Usually, it costs $52 to join. The fee covers the testing and maintenance of the registry and is tax deductible. But joining is free from June 8-22 during the Marrowthon!

Joining the marrow registry is just one way to help. Here are some other ways to get involved:

* Make a tax-deductible donation to the NMDP. It actually costs ~$100 to place one person on the registry so your donations help defray expenses.

* Spread the word. Encourage others to join, especially during the Marrowthon when it's free!

* If you’re pregnant, donate your baby’s cord blood. It’s free, painless, doesn’t alter the birth process, and can save someone’s life.

So think about the options you would want for yourself, your child, your spouse, or a loved one upon a blood disease diagnosis. Now consider joining the Be the Match Marrow Registry. You may be the one to save a life.

“Sickle cell is now a part of my past. One year after my transplant, I was pronounced cured. Stem cells saved my life. Thank you.” - Keone Penn, 2003, the first person cured of sickle cell anemia by umbilical cord blood donation from an unrelated donor, in a US Senate hearing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Call 211.

Lots of places allow residents to call 211 to get local help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and other social services. But did you know that you can also call 211 to learn how give help?

When Kwadjo and I moved from Atlanta to Little Rock, we found we had lots to give away just before we were planning to leave. The organizations to which we normally donated would do scheduled pick-ups but the available dates were too far away. And we were too busy packing to make a drop off. So I called 211 to get find some organizations that could do an immediate pickup. Thankfully, it worked out well.

Wondering if your town has 211 for social services? Visit and search by city, state, or ZIP code. I was pleased to see that Arkansas also has 211. And like many other states and municipalities, Arkansas 211 also has a website (

So call 211 or visit your local 211 website next time you

• need social services
• would like to offer help
• want to list your organization’s services

It’s a valuable local resource and it’s just a call or click away.

"This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more they possess." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Build 1 Well.

One of the great things about Kiva, Prosper, and Donors Choose is that donors get to select the projects they fund. Giving is much more personal when you know the recipient of your gift and how it will be used. 1 Well has taken this concept and combined it with giving teams in a whole new way.

1 Well is a nonprofit that connects “socially conscious individuals, groups, and businesses” with residents of “communities in high need areas of the world” to “partner to build critical life-sustaining projects – wells, toilets, childcare centers, etc – that meet the basic needs of poor communities and give them the opportunity to work for a living wage.” For example:
* A 1Well project in Vachharajpur, India, provided clean drinking water for more than 550 villagers. Women have started small businesses because they no longer walk five hours a day to collect potable water.

* Another 1Well project in Sedla, India, provided irrigation water for more than 100 farming families, improving the quality and quantity of their crops, reducing their costs by 75 percent and providing jobs for those who would otherwise migrate in search of work.

Isn’t that a great way to make a difference? If you think so, then you can take financial responsibility for a 1 Well project 1 Well project. Sign up to be the social venture capitalist for a project that will raise $2,900 for a solar lantern manufacturing and repair facility in Haji Bhachudiwandh, Gujarat, India. Or manage the effort to raise $1,000 to build a classroom in Ica City, Ica, Peru.

You can sell baked goods, organize a road race, host a silent auction, or use other activities to raise money for the project you are sponsoring. When the project is complete, you’ll know you played a key role in making it happen.

So visit, select the project you want to fund, then choose the methods you will use to raise money for it. Your efforts will make a difference for years to come. (Thanks to Frank for the tip!)

"The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit.” - Benjamin Jowett, 1817-1893