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World Marrow Donor Day 2019

World Marrow Donor Day (WMDD) is celebrated globally on the third Saturday of September. In 2019, WMDD is celebrated on 21st September. WMDD is supported by two international organizations, WMDA (World Marrow Donor Association) and EBMT (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation).

The main objective of WMDD is to thank all donors worldwide -unrelated donors, family donors, cord blood donors, donors who already have donated and donors who are on the global registry waiting to donate.

Secondary objective of WMDD is to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about being a stem cell donor and the impact of blood stem cell transplantation to patients’ lives.

What is a marrow donor?

A marrow or blood stem cell donor is a volunteer adult person who is willing to donate cells for blood stem cell or marrow transplantation to a family member or to a patient who is not a family member.

Blood cancer can be cured by a blood stem cell, marrow or cord blood transplantation if a suitable donor can be found. Only in 30% of the patients a suitable donor can be found within the family. Seventy percent patients therefore rely on the worldwide register of unrelated donors for a possible cure of their disease.

What are blood stem cells?

Stem cells are found in bone marrow (a spongy tissue inside the bones), in the blood and in the umbilical cord (the cord that connects a foetus to its mother’s placenta). There are three possible sources of blood stem cells for donation-

  • Bone marrow – It is collected from pelvis. The pelvis contains the largest number of blood stem cells.
  • Peripheral blood- It is collected from blood stream. Normally, only very few stem cells are found in the blood. Hormone-like substances called growth factors can be given to blood stem cell donors a few days before the donation. This causes their blood stem cells to grow faster and to move from the bone marrow into the blood stream.
  • Umbilical cord blood- It is collected from the placenta and umbilical cord of new born baby. It is frozen and stored until needed for blood stem cell transplantation.

Who can become a donor?

A donor should be 18-60 years old, in good health and ready to donate for any patient in need.

To donate umbilical cord blood, a future mother must be over 18 years of age, in good health, pregnant without complications, registered well before the onset of labour.

More than 30 million donors are already listed in “Bone marrow Donors Worldwide” registry but there is still a need for more donors because about 40% patients are not able to find a matched donor in the global registry.   

Find Global registry WMDA-Bone marrow Donors Worldwide


World Marrow Donor Day, 2018