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One-in-a-Million Donor Match Saves Life

One-in-a-Million Donor Match Saves Life

Published 11-15-00

Submitted by Baxter International Inc.

Shanna Patterson may not ride Busch Garden's newest roller coaster when she visits Tampa this week, but that's all right. The 20-year-old Michigan woman has had her share of ups and downs, starting in 1994 when her family doctor uncovered some disturbing news. Shanna had a life-threatening form of leukemia.

"It was hard to believe," Shanna said. "I had dreams of attending Michigan State and becoming a veterinarian, but suddenly my dreams of the future were changed to day-to-day survival."

The only known cure for leukemia is a marrow transplant. Unfortunately, finding a marrow match is extremely difficult. The best chance for finding a suitable match usually is a member of a patient's family, but 70 percent of patients do not find a match within their family. If no related donor is found patients, like Shanna, can call upon the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) Registry. Yet, even then there is no guarantee.

On any given day more than 3,000 people are searching the NMDP Registry, which contains approximately 4 million potential marrow donors. Shanna was one of the fortunate ones to find a match, Tina Swartz.

Tina is one of more than 750 people employed at Baxter Healthcare Corporation's Largo facility, which manufactures automated blood-cell
separation systems used to collect therapeutic doses of platelets used in the support of patients undergoing a marrow transplant. Tina signed up for the NMDP Registry as part of Baxter's blood drive program that was expanded to recruit volunteers for the Registry and organ donors. Four years after she registered, Tina received a letter announcing she had been selected as a potential "marrow match."

"I was floored," she said. "Way back in 1995 when I signed up to become a potential marrow donor, the odds were a million-to-one that I'd be called. I thought I'd never get called. I'm so happy I did it now," said Tina. "Shanna and I talk all the time. It's incredible how much alike we are."

Shanna and Tina will meet for the first time on Thursday, November 16, at a celebration hosted by Baxter and Florida Blood Services, which will be open to the media. The meeting will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Baxter's Largo facility, 11401 Belcher Road. Interviews with Shanna and Tina can be scheduled following the meeting by calling Bryan Scully at (813) 833-5835.

Since 1993, Baxter has recruited nearly 2,700 employees to the NMDP Registry, making it one of the few companies to recruit more than 2,000
people to the Registry. Over the past two years, four employees have been identified as a match, and have helped save lives with their marrow donation.

Approximately 10 percent of the people added to the Registry are recruited through corporate-sponsored drives. Baxter was one of the first companies to pay for complete DNA tissue typing, which is necessary for a searching patient to find a match more quickly.

For more information about unrelated marrow transplantation, becoming a marrow or blood stem cell donor, or finding a NMDP center in your community, please call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit online at Television and radio PSAs produced by the National Marrow Donor Program can be obtained by calling Amy Burger at 612-627-8182.

Baxter International Inc., is a global medical products and services company that provides critical therapies for people with life-threatening conditions. Baxter's products and services in bioscience (biopharmaceuticals and blood collection, separation and storage devices) medication delivery and renal therapy, are used by health-care providers and their patients in more than 100 countries. Its facility in Largo, Fla., manufactures products for automated blood-cell separation and collection systems, and dialysis instrumentation.

Florida Blood Services provides blood and blood components to 34 hospitals and 70 ambulatory health care facilities in the Tampa Bay area. Sixteen bloodmobiles and 13 donor centers are located throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas counties collecting over 200,000 pints of blood annually. Florida Blood Services is the fourth-largest transfusion service in the nation.

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Baxter International Inc.

Baxter International Inc.

At Baxter, sustainability means creating lasting social, environmental and economic value by addressing the needs of the company’s wide-ranging stakeholder base. The company's sustainability efforts support Baxter's mission to apply innovative science in the development of products and therapies that save and sustain patients' lives.

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