A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Register your Bone Marrow to Help a Fellow Foreigner

Englishman David, a long-time resident of Japan and father of two children, received some shocking news late last year. He was diagnosed with a rare disease which leaves his bone marrow unable to produce white or red blood cells. His immune system has practically shut down and left him unprotected against all nature of germs and viruses. David was forced to quit his teaching positions at several local universities at the end of November and was hospitalized just before the New Year.

Fortunately, there is hope for David. Put simply, he needs a bone marrow transplant, a procedure which has now become fairly standard. All that is required is a compatible donor. After a transplant operation, the donor’s bone marrow will grow back normally, and David’s life will be saved.

There is a well-organized bone marrow donor system in Japan, but finding a compatible donor is the problem. A suitable donor must meet six compatibility criteria, which means that the chance of two people being compatible is extremely small. Moreover, physiological differences mean that it is extremely unlikely that local (Japanese) donors’ marrow will be compatible with David’s Caucasian bone marrow. As there are currently no donor exchange programs with Europe, America is the only possibility, but the search procedure is likely to be long and costly. In matters such as these, half a year more can be the difference between life and death. The obvious solution is to try and find a donor among foreigners living in Japan.

Read more: HELP DAVID by testing for bone marrow compatibility

You can have your bone marrow (骨髄, こつずい) tested and registered in Tsukuba at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center near Tsukuba Information Center and Nova Hall. Having your bone marrow tested involves a simple blood test. Your bone marrow does not have to be extracted in order for it to be registered.

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