There are citizens in the Baton Rouge community waiting on a bone marrow transplant to save their lives. Each of us has the potential to give them the gift of more time with their loved ones by becoming a donor.

Bone marrow is key to treating a number of deadly cancers and other diseases, and is often a patient’s only hope for a cure.

However, finding a match is not always easy, especially for minorities. Only 28 percent of those on the national registry are minorities, with only 7 percent representing the African-American population. It’s important to note that a match is more likely with someone of their own race or ethnicity, and doctors request donors in the 18 to 44 age group more than 90 percent of the time. This means it’s imperative for more racial and ethnic minorities and younger people to join the registry.

In order to help increase the number of registered donors, my office, along with Mary Bird Perkins, Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Be the Match, are partnering for the 90-Day Donor Challenge. This bone marrow registration drive is already underway and goes through Nov. 1. Registering is quick and painless and only requires filling out registration and consent forms and a cheek swab at one of our upcoming community drives.

For information on upcoming drives, please call (225) 215-1234 or visit www.mbp olol.org/donorchallenge.

Donating bone marrow has become quite simple and is equivalent to donating blood, but its impact is immeasurable. I invite the greater Baton Rouge community to join us in this effort and potentially become someone’s hero!

Melvin “Kip” Holden

mayor-president

Baton Rouge