Essential Pittsburgh
3:59 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Increasing African American Bone Marrow Donation & Continuing the Efforts of a Local Leader

Credit Canadian Blood Service / flickr

Following the deaths of three prominent black leaders in Western Pennsylvania, the need for bone marrow donors, especially in the African American community has come to light.

In an effort to increase awareness and register potential donors, Daria Crawley, an associate professor of management at Robert Morris University and Howard Russell of East Hills find that patients and families experience unique hurdles when searching for a donor.

Nadya Dutchin, National Account Executive for Be the Match, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation, says many potential donors are often uneasy about joining. 

“Most people are very, very afraid of the idea of bone marrow donation. Just the mere phrase kind of strikes fear into the hearts of most people. So demystifying the process and really explaining how easy it is to join and how easy and painless it is to donate are probably two of the things we need to do more of. It’s just very frightening for a lot of people.”

Ms. Crawley, whose husband, Rex Crawley, recently passed away after complications with lymphoma, says getting the word out was the ultimate goal for her husband.

“I know that there are lots of college students who were touched by Rex and the things that he did and now is a way to continue his dream. While he may not be the direct beneficiary, he does benefit because his dream of increasing the number of African Americans who are part of this registry is important.”