WITH five siblings, Ron Height knows all too well that when he was diagnosed with blood cancer he was, in a way, one of the lucky ones.
There was a 25 per cent chance that one of Ron’s siblings would be a suitable bone marrow donor, and sure enough his sister Lyn was a match.
Seven years after receiving a transfusion that ultimately saved his life, the Wembley Downs resident has teamed up with Leukaemia Foundation staff to urge people to join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
“There’s no doubt that if I hadn’t received that donation, I would have died,” Mr Height said.
“I was in a good position, because there was a 25 per cent chance a sibling would have compatible bone marrow and I was one of six, and sure enough my sister was a match.
“The chance of getting a donor match is much, much slimmer, somewhere around one in 1000 donors are suitable, but the more people join the registry the better the chances are.
“Families are getting smaller as well, so in the past you had a better chance of getting a donor from your family… that’s not the case these days.”
Mr Height said advances in technology meant that donating bone marrow was no longer the terrifying prospect many people associate with the procedure.
“These days, they hook you up to a machine that is quite similar to a dialysis machine. It essentially filters your blood for the cells it needs, then returns it to your body and it takes somewhere around four hours.
“You’re giving up half a day of your live, but ultimately that half a day could save someone’s life.”
To join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, contact the Blood Service Call Centre on 13 14 95 or visit www.ambdr.org.au