June 3, 1988

National Bone Marrow Donor Registry to Begin Recruiting in General Population This Summer

JAMA. 1988;259(21):3099-3101. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720210003003

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BROOKE WARD, a 6-year-old patient with leukemia from Raleigh, NC, had to wait a long time for the bone marrow— time she didn't have. All of her own marrow already had been removed as part of her therapy at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Healthy marrow had been donated by Diane Walters of Milwaukee. But the Milwaukee airport canceled commercial flights because of a blizzard. The marrow, and Brooke, were stranded.

A Milwaukee County official heard about the emergency and ordered a runway to be cleared immediately. The marrow was flown to the Hutchinson Center, where surgeons transplanted it into Brooke.

So it wasn't easy, but on Dec 16,1987, the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry completed its first donor-recipient linkup.

The registry, based in St Paul, is a computer network that attempts to streamline the process of finding compatible bone marrow for patients needing such transplants. Operating