Sport promotes solidarity

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The world of sport and bone marrow donors united in an action of solidarity to face the consequences of a period, made difficult by the pandemic, during which leukemia and onco-haematological pathologies have not gone into lock down. This is the aim of the agreement protocol that will be signed by CONI (Comitato olimpico nazionale italiano) and Admo ( Associazione donatori midollo osseo), on Friday 19 March at 11.30 a.m. in Rome, in the Coni Palace by the President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò and the President of ADMO, Rita Malavolta.

Margherita Panziera, European swimming champion, will be present at the signing of the protocol as testimonial.

The aim is to educate young people, through sports clubs about the culture of donation and in particular about bone marrow donation, which is still the only effective cure for many blood illnesses. Every healthy person, aged between 18-35 with a body weight of at least 50 kilos, is a potential donor.

Becoming a donor is simple. After an interview with a doctor and the signing of an informed consent to join Italian Bone Marrow register, the donor will be subjected to a simple blood or saliva test. From this sample will be extracted the genetic data necessary to verify compatibility with a patient. This information is shared worldwide with all international donor registries.

It can also be done from the comfort of home, instead of going to health structures or hospitals, thanks to an innovative procedure, Match at home, introduced in 2020, supported by platforms dedicated to remote recruitment. The service, through the address, is currently active in four pilot regions: Piemonte, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and allows you to receive the kit for collecting the saliva test directly at home. Once a compatible patient has been found, the donation will be made by taking a sample from the peripherical blood. In the previous five days, the donor will have been given a drug that promotes the growth of stem cells in the bone marrow and, therefore, their passage into the peripheral blood.

In Europe, Italy with 460,603 bone marrow donors, is in third place, but at a considerable distance from the top two. Germany is in the lead with 9,342,831, followed by Poland with 1,965,292. They are followed by Spain (431,486), Portugal (402,006), Holland (342,193) and France (321,080). Last is Austria (162,188). The world classification, where Italy is in 12th place, is led by the USA (9,343,867), Germany, Brazil (4,885,726) and the United Kingdom (2,071,527).

According to the most recent data, which emerged during the XIV National Congress of Sies (Societa’ italiana di ematologia sperimentale), in Italy there are an estimated 10,000 new cases of leukaemia per year. If we consider that only 1 out of 100,000 people are compatible with those who are waiting for a bone marrow transplant, it is easy to understand how important it is to increase awareness, as Admo and Coni want to do by signing the protocol agreement.