WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - This year's New Hanover County Relay for Life will feature something new--a bone marrow donor drive.
Mildred Bethea, a bone marrow recipient and organizer of the event, says all that's involved is a simple swab.
"It's a q-tip--four q-tips to the inner check," Bethea says. Then I send the stuff off to Minneapolis and its about a three to six week time span when they will actually get their card. Almost like a CPR card saying that they have joined the registry. And then they'll be in there until they are 61 years of age."
Donors at drives like the one at Relay for Life must be between the ages of 18-44.
Bethea knows firsthand the need for more bone marrow donors on the national registry.
"Five years ago I was in need of bone marrow and at the time there were 7 million people on the national register and not one was a match," Bethea said. "I got my bone marrow from the umbilical cord of a baby."
Bethea, who is African American, says there is also a critical need for more minority donors. Of the 7 million people listed on the national registry, just over 600,000 are African Americans.
The New Hanover County Relay for Life takes place this Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.
If you are interested in registering as a bone marrow donor, Bethea will be at the Ashley High School track, Friday, starting at 11 a.m.
Opening ceremonies for the Relay begin at 6:30 p.m.
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