Become a Donor

When Jason was first diagnosed with acute leukemia, his brother Jeff and sister, Jenni, were immediately checked to see if they were a DNA  “match” in case Jas needed a donor for a transplant.  Though they matched each other, neither was a match for Jason.  When Jason’s leukemia relapsed in 2004, he was told that in order to survive, he would need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.  Since he did not match his siblings, the next place they search is in the donor registries.  (See and other links)

The donor registries are where prospective donors register.  There are adult registries and baby cord registries.  Adults may remain on the registry until age 60 or they withdraw.  The cord registry will be addressed later.  We were told that the chances of anyone finding a close to perfect match is only one in 5 million!!  Since there are approximately 7 million donors registered, many more people need to know about this lifesaving registry.

The baby cord registry is another option.  This is where the baby’s cord, instead of being discarded at birth, is donated to the cord registry.  The amount of blood in the cord is often not enough for an adult transplant, but new methods of gathering the blood make it a promising source of donor stem cells for adults!

In Jason’s case, his transplant came from the cord blood  of a baby from Spain.  It was close to a perfect match. 

There is some confusion about stem cells.  We are not talking about the “controversial” embryonic stem cells! We are talking about the stem cells that all of us have from birth!  They are the core cells for life that become our red and white cells, etc.  They are found in concentration in our bone marrow.  When we think of a bone marrow transplant, it is actually a stem cell transplant.  They simply take the healthy stem cells of the donor and transplant them through an IV to the sick person.  Today they also do PBCT or peripheral stem cell transplants where they get the stem cells from our blood using our arm(kind of like giving blood, but they take out only the stem cells). You do not need to be present. When Jason and Dawn flew to the Seattle cancer center they found out that they do mostly peripheral stem cell transplants, and hardly any bone marrow transplants anymore.

Jason had the best match with the baby cord transplant.  In order to donate a baby’s cord, arrangements must be made ahead of time with both the hospital and the cord blood registry.  This is very important, otherwise the cord is discarded!!!  See the links for the cord registry.  Your baby’s cord could save a life!

To become an adult donor is an easy process.  They send you a Q tip like swab and you swab the inside of your mouth.  You can get the kit on line or go to a center where they do it for you.  Lifesource and have information.  It is our hope that Friends of Jason Foundation will be able to help with the cost. (around fifty dollars)  Call us or email if you would like to become a donor and need more info. has the application and the kit.  You could save a life while you are still alive!!