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One Man's Simple Plan to Increase the Number of Bone Marrow Donors

20% blood 20% bones 60% heart

The next time you cut your finger, you could help save a life.

Ten thousand people need bone marrow transplants each year to fight life-threatening diseases, but only half of them get one. The solution is more donors, but getting more people to go through the screening procedure requires creative thinking.

So Graham Douglas, who works at ad agency Droga5, came up with a unique answer: Stick a sign-up kit inside a Band-Aid box. When someone you cuts their finger and goes hunting for a Band-Aid, they can just dab some of the blood on a Q-tip-like swab, drop it in an envelope already included in the kit, and put it in the mail to the lab. Just like that, they’re in the registry and might have the opportunity to save a life.

“I wanted to make it as fucking simple as possible to do something good,” he says. “I think a lot of people hear bone marrow donation and they think it’s going to be torture and that’s just not the case.”

After just a few days on the market, the Emergency Services Response Department in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wants to include kits in their emergency vehicles. Most of their calls aren’t sirens-blazing, straight-to-the-hospital dire. They treat lots cuts and scrapes in need of mending, and now they hope to ask those patients, “Hey, want to sign up for the bone marrow registry?”

Photo courtesy of Help Remedies

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