On Monday, we posted about a New York Times story about Seun Adebiyi, a Nigerian-born graduate of Yale Law School, who helped to open the second national bone marrow registry in all of Africa. Adebiyi’s struggle to find a stem cell match to combat his two lethal blood cancers inspired him to help Africans and the diaspora in finding donors for themselves. In addition to the personal money and time that Adebiyi, now in remission, has charitably invested in the national bone marrow registry, he is also raising money to open a bank for umbilical cord blood, so that other minority patients will have a greater chance of a transfusion match.
Why is this significant? What does it change?
While over 70 percent of white Americans find perfect, life-saving blood donor matches, only 17 percent of black Americans do. The genetic diversity of black communities exceeds that of white communities, yet only eight percent of registered donors in the United States are black. Current population statistics of Nigeria mark it as 155 million, which is almost quadruple that of the 38,930,000 African-Americans and blacks in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. Each year, about 4,000 black Americans die of blood cancers, and exponentially more die worldwide. The new bone marrow registry and future cord-blood bank in Nigeria will benefit these affected black Americans, the millions of Nigerians that have blood cancers, and more.
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