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BOCA RATON, Fla., March 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Gift of Life Marrow Registry announced today it has donated 10,000 urgently needed swabs to Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health, to aid in testing patients for COVID-19. Area hospitals, like those across the country, are short of the supplies needed to identify coronavirus cases. Gift of Life uses the swabs to test tissue type when volunteer donors join the registry to determine donor compatibility with patients batting blood diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell.
This donation comes in addition to new measures Gift of Life is taking to ensure patients continue to safely receive lifesaving bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants, while also playing new roles to support hospitals as they work to meet the critical care of their patients during this unprecedented global health crisis. Its state-of-the-art Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Gift of Life–Be The Match Collection Center—one of only a few in the United States not based in a hospital setting—has increased service availability to meet demand and ensure transplants are not delayed.
"Every day, patients battling blood cancer count on Gift of Life Marrow Registry to ensure they get the transplants they need, when they need them, which means working diligently to overcome global travel restrictions," said Jay Feinberg, Gift of Life Marrow Registry Founder and CEO. "While the coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down, it is mission critical that we continue our life-saving registry and blood stem cell collection services while also supporting our partners. We must work together to end this pandemic."
"We thank Gift of Life Marrow Registry for their generosity in providing swabs to Boca Raton Regional Hospital," said Gwenesia Collins, PharmD, CPh, Assistant Vice President of Clinical Ancillary Services, Pharmacy, Laboratory and Respiratory, Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
Shifting Recruiting Efforts Online
In order to continue donor recruitment efforts and help donors adhere to the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on social distancing, Gift of Life is focusing registry recruitment online by encouraging volunteer donors to request a registration kit on its website, giftoflife.org, or by calling 800-9MARROW (800-962-7769). Once ordered, the kits are sent to the potential donor's home, the donor performs the cheek swab, returns the kit to Gift of Life in a postage-paid envelope and is entered into the registry.
Increased Safety Protocols
Gift of Life has implemented increased health protocols at its facility. These measures include the use of telemedicine as a virtual tool to perform the required physical examinations for donors as the final step in the medical clearance process. The organization has also reduced the number of staff on-site to only those that are essential, conducting non-physical temperature checks for all individuals upon entry, and increasing the sanitization of spaces throughout the donation process.
Since its start in 1991, Gift of Life Marrow Registry has grown to almost 372,000 individuals who have volunteered to donate blood stem cells or bone marrow to save a life. To date, Gift of Life has facilitated over 17,600 matches for those with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, and nearly 100 other diseases, resulting in more than 3,600 transplants. For more details, please contact Edwige Buteau at firstname.lastname@example.org.