There are many misconceptions about being in the bone marrow registry, say experts. First of all, getting in the registry is as simple as doing a cheek swab. No needles, no blood, no drilling.
"We've never drilled," said Paige Morrison, account executive with Be the Match. "If you are a match for someone, 75 percent of the time we take stem cells through two IVs in your arm, the other 25 percent of the time the marrow is taken from the soft bone in the back of your pelvic bone."
Being a match is rare. There are 10 million people in the registry and 10,000 people who need a match each year. Kim McGrath has an 85 percent chance at finding a match since she is Caucasian, said Morrison.
The 36-year-old wife of Supercross star Jeremy McGrath is currently undergoing chemotheraphy at UC San Diego for Leukemia Cutis which is Leukemia of the skin. Just two years ago, Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotheraphy for that too. Fifteen months later, she noticed splotches on her skin and learned she had leukemia.
Husband Jeremy asked his fans and friends to support him in his quest to help his wife find a bone marrow match. He set up Be the Match registry events including one Wednesday at Transworld Media Skate Park in Carlsbad that included a raffle and auction.
"We got 275 new donors and raised $1660," Morrison said.
Once you are in the registry you are in it until age 61.
"It actually costs $100 per person to join the registry, but we don't charge anyone," she said. "That's why fundraising is so important, it offsets the costs."
The McGraths live Encinitas with their two daughters.
For more information on upcoming registry events or to donate go to: