Chi­nese donors give the gift of life

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s State-level bone mar­row bank has fa­cil­i­tated 183 over­seas do­na­tions in­volv­ing 19 coun­tries and re­gions in­clud­ing South Korea, the United States and Ger­many, the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China said at a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day.

Founded in 1992, the bank has 2 mil­lion regis­tered donors, the fourth largest after the US, Ger­many and Brazil, said Hao Linna, vi­cepres­i­dent of the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China, which over­sees the bank.

“It’s a mile­stone of the bank, rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple’s great benev­o­lence and hu­man­ity to help save lives both at home and abroad,” she said.

Join­ing the world’s largest mar­row-donor pro­gram in 2012, the bank has shared in­for­ma­tion about 800,000 vol­un­teer donors with the pro­gram, aim­ing to pass the gift of life to the rest of the world, ac­cord­ing toHao.

Machteld Oud­shoorn, chair­woman of the ed­i­to­rial board of Bone­Mar­row Donors World­wide, said in a con­grat­u­la­tory let­ter that it is a ma­jor achieve­ment for the Chi­nese bank to re­cruit two mil­lion donors.

“It has been sav­ing many lives in China as well as else­where in the world,” she said.

Bone-mar­row trans­plants can treat a va­ri­ety of blood dis­eases in­clud­ing leukemia and ane­mia, ac­cord­ing to med­i­cal ex­perts.

Given in­creased pub­lic aware­ness, “more and more peo­ple have joined the po­ten­tial donor pool, in­clud­ing some for­eign­ers liv­ing here,” said Zhao Donghua, head of the bank.

About one mil­lion Chi­nese pa­tients need bone mar­row trans­plants each year and “de­mands from within the coun­try are pri­or­i­tized”, she said.

The bank re­ceives more than 8,000 re­quests a year on av­er­age from Chi­nese na­tion­als, with 80 per­cent land­ing a match.

Zhao called on more vol­un­teers to join the donor pool and stressed that it “won’t do harm to donor health”.

Com­pared with other coun­tries, the per­cent­age of donor vol­un­teers in China re­mained low, she pointed out.

For in­stance, nearly 350 out of ev­ery 10,000 peo­ple in the US are regis­tered as po­ten­tial donors. But the fig­ure is about 14 out of 10,000 on theChi­nese main­land.

Chen Hu, a se­nior blood dis­ease spe­cial­ist, said China needs a very large pool of donors be­cause the fam­ily plan­ning pol­icy makes it nearly im­pos­si­ble to land a match from sib­lings, he ex­plained.

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