These two sisters are on a road trip for change.
Sam and Alex Kimura are on a cross-country road trip to rally people to join the National Bone Marrow Registry and to find a donor for Sam, CBS News reported. The 22-year-old has severe aplastic anemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant, and the girls are using the trip to both find a match for Sam and encourage others to donate.
"There are thousands of patients every year that are in the same position -- that can't find a donor -- but there are millions and millions of people in this country that just aren't signed up yet, they could be the cure for all these patients," Sam’s older sister, Alex, told the news outlet.
In a partnership with Delete Blood Cancer, the sisters started S.A.M. -- Sharing America’s Marrow -- to stop in all 50 states with the goal of registering 50,000 donors. Sam and Alex, along with their friend Taylor, have been traveling since January in a fully loaded van, where they set up stands on college campuses, hold events at restaurants and organize various events to raise awareness for the importance of bone marrow donation. At some of these locations, people are “swabbed up,” to find DNA matches. And though the women are determined, the journey hasn’t been easy.
"We get a lot of rejection," Alex told Philly.com. “Because people think donating is painful.”
While the sisters have experienced some setbacks, they have also had some tremendous success. As of Monday, S.A.M. has rallied 12,444 people to register, and helped set up 97 donor matches. Although Sam has yet to find a match, she and her team are hopeful for the future, and for the remaining nine states on their route.
“With this effort, thousand of lives could be saved because matches will be found for these patients in need,” Alex and Sam wrote on their website. “And maybe they will even find a hero for Sam too.”
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