Bone marrow transplants have been known as a gift of life throughout the world since the first successful case in 1958, helping improve the lives of people with blood diseases such as leukemia and to even cure some diseases. It makes the need for bone marrow donors even that more imperative.
For those with diseases such as leukemia, time is of the essence to find compatibility with a donor. The more donors who register, the better the system works to find the correct donor and the quicker a bone marrow transplant can occur.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen could not bear to see patients suffering from blood diseases.
Through bone marrow donation, a person is potentially helping to save another person’s life while not hurting their own. When Master Cheng Yen confirmed that, in 1993 she started the Tzu Chi Marrow Donor Registry that was renamed in 2002 to The Buddhist Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Stem Cell Centre.
Tzu Chi began its bone marrow test drives in 1994 and has been successful in getting donors registered in its databank. Tzu Chi works with the Be The Match registry hosting booths at community events where information about bone marrow transplant is available.
Along with functioning as a bone marrow data bank, the institution has evolved and now includes ongoing stem cell research and gene therapy in addition to an umbilical cord blood repository. They all help to bring hope for medical treatments to those suffering from disease while motivating those with kind hearts to be donors. Tzu Chi volunteers are always present showing support and compassion for the donor.