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Caribbean Registry’s Goal Is 1,000 Bone Marrow Donors By 2017


              Dr. Arthur Dunk

GEORGE TOWN — There are only 400 registered bone marrow donors throughout the whole Caribbean region, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

The Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry has launched a donor drive with the goal of reaching at least 1,000 donors by the end of the year.

Arthur Dunk, Caribbean Bone Marrow Registry director, said a bone marrow transplant may be the only hope for a cure for people suffering from blood cancers, or auto-immune and other blood diseases.

“With only 400 registered donors in the Caribbean region, we significantly need to increase these numbers to give our friends and family suffering from sometimes terminal blood and auto-immune diseases a fighting chance,” Dunk said.

“The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, with individuals possessing a distinct and unique genetic makeup – this makes it difficult for those needing a donor to find a match,” he said. “The more people we can add to the registry the greater the chance these sick people have at fighting their diseases.”

“We have a population of nearly 40 million people in the Caribbean but only 400 people on our registry. We need to realise the significance of this shortfall and come together as a region to try and help save lives,” Dunk added.

In order to register more donors across the Caribbean, the registry has undertaken a concentrated marketing effort with the help of leading Cayman Islands strategic communications agency, Tower, to rebrand and share its message across the region.

The registry has launched a new logo, refreshed its website and Facebook, and produced new marketing collateral.

“Tower is happy to offer the support of its marketing and creative services to assist such an important organisation and we are looking forward to doing everything we can to help spread the Registry’s message across the region,” Lynne Byles, Tower managing director said.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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