November 10, 2005
Tanya Fuller, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was donating blood to the Red Cross during a job fair in 2000, when she was approached by a bone marrow donor recruiter. According to Fuller, the recruiter told her that more blacks are needed as donors in order to help other blacks.
Tanya Fuller was 23 and had a two-year-old daughter when she learned she was a match for a man who had two daughters. Although she had never met this man, she realized she had an opportunity to give him a chance to be around to raise his girls.
When Fuller and Lee met, neither of them could stop smiling, nor could Because I Care board members and volunteers who came to witness the meeting. Fuller has done what the organization hopes many more blacks will join the registry to become potential marrow donors.
“The chances of finding a match within your own ethnic group is much better because (DNA) has been passed on from generation to generation,” according to Dr. Moyne Kornman, medical director for Because I Care. “The ethnicity makes such a big impact, and we are trying to recruit more ethnic groups for this reason.”
Lee was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, and is glad that Fuller signed up to become a donor. Fuller said when she heard about Lee and his daughters, she thought about her own father. “I still have my dad,” she said.
She encourages people to think about their own loved ones when a recruiter asks them to consider joining the marrow donor registry.
Fuller said, “If you were in that situation, you would want your loved ones to live.”