(NEW YORK) — ABC News employees are joining the world’s largest marrow donor registry, potentially saving the lives of people awaiting a bone marrow transplant. The employees participated Tuesday in a Be the Match registry drive, following Good Morning America‘s Robin Robert’s announcement several weeks ago that she had been diagnosed with a bone marrow disorder called MDS, Myelodysplastic Syndrome. It was a special day for Roberts, who was there as ABC employees lined up to become donors.
A simple mouth swab begins the process that could lead to a bone marrow donation.
Be the Match CEO Dr. Jeffrey Chell says a bone-marrow donation simply involves drawing blood from your arm 80 percent of the time.
“It just takes about six hours,” Dr. Chell says, adding that donating marrow does not require donors to be hospitalized. “You can go home. You feel perfectly normal the next day.”
Chell says, “about 20 percent of the time, people still donate in the old-fashioned way, and that’s through a bone-marrow incision. Under those circumstances, we put people to sleep, lie them on their stomach, make a small incision on their hip bone.”
But he insists that even those donors who must undergo the more invasive procedure say that, “it was no big deal and they would be happy to donate again if there is someone in need.”
Since Roberts’ announcement, 11,200 people have registered — and that number is growing.
“Our donors tell us that [sic] causes just a minor inconvenience and a minor discomfort,” Chell says.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Sam Penrod, KSL.com
Kevin Conlon, Euan McKirdy and Johanzynn Gatewood, CNN