Idaho Will Lose Bone Marrow Donor Registry
Posted on: 2008-08-08 18:28:53

Saint Luke's program can't meet a racial diversity goal, so future potential donors likely will have to pay to be signed up in Spokane.

The Treasure Valley's last bone-marrow donor registry is closing because it is too white.

St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute says it can't meet a new national goal to add 1,000 racial minorities a year to its list of people willing to donate bone marrow to patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening blood diseases.

The new requirement was created to help give minorities a better chance of finding a match that could save their lives.

But it means Caucasians in the Valley who could be swabbed and typed for free with the local list, will now have to pay $52 to register their marrow type and their willingness to share it with someone in need.

The Boise program, which now adds about 1,000 total people each year, likely will be absorbed into a bigger registry based in Spokane by Oct. 1.

"It wasn't something we wanted to do," said Mark Allen, marrow donor center coordinator at MSTI. "If it was up to us, we would keep it open."

Idaho's population is 96 percent white, according to 2006 state statistics.

"I certainly understand that the goals are a stretch," said Dr. Ellen Klohe, director of the marrow program at Inland Northwest Blood Center in Spokane. "Everybody will admit that."

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