Collegeville Native Advocates for Paying Bone Marrow Donors to Save More Lives

Natalie Dowzicky.
Image via Robin Dowzicky.
Natalie Dowzicky.

The number of donors of bone marrow could be boosted if donors were being compensated, writes Natalie Dowzicky for Reason.

Dowzicky, a Collegeville native and Germantown Academy graduate, was a donor to her father, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia a few days before Christmas 2021.

She knows her father was among the lucky ones who found a match among family members. People who are waiting for a bone marrow donor often die before they get one. In fact, over 3,000 Americans die each year while waiting for a donation.

While it was once illegal to compensate someone for their bone marrow because it was considered an organ, today, bone marrow is now treated as blood or plasma. Despite the change in ruling, however, no one has been paid for their bone marrow.

The main obstacle currently is Be the Match, run by the National Marrow Donor Program, which is opposed to compensating donors because their entire identity revolves around altruistic volunteers who want to help others, not earn money.

But “the reality is that no cancer patient, or anyone with a blood disease, actually cares whether their donor supplied marrow for the ‘right’ reasons,” wrote Dowzicky.

Read more about Natalie Dowzicky in Reason.


Learn more about bone marrow donation.

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