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Health & Balance

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Jeff Gordon Is Driven to Help Children

NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon gets the wheels of change rolling.

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The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), based in Minneapolis, is one of the many benefactors of The Jeff Gordon Foundation. An estimated 10,000 people a year develop the diseases for which bone marrow transplants are the only cure. Most have forms of leukemia or lymphoma, but more than 70 diseases are treated with marrow transplants. The program connects patients with donors and doctors, as well as supporting them during treatment and through the lengthy recuperation period.

"We are asked to participate when there is no other cure," says NMDP Director Jeffrey Chell, MD. According to Chell, only 25% of those needing transplants find a match within their immediate family. Most have to depend on strangers. That's where the NMDP fits in. One of its priorities is recruiting donors for a marrow registry. When a person donates marrow, a hollow needle is used to withdraw liquid marrow from the pelvic bone. Soreness in the lower back, discomfort while walking, and tiredness are the most common side effects, and they normally last a few days. The body generally takes four to six weeks to replace the donated marrow.

Gordon himself has registered with the NMDP. "Jeff's DNA is in the registry, and he could be called on at any time to be a donor," Kriger says. "In fact, he has gotten all of us on the foundation staff to register as donors. Actually, it was a pretty easy thing to do when you meet some of these kids."

Adapted from WebMD the Magazine. Read the complete story here. Also, read more about Jeff Gordon's commitment to children's health.

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Reviewed on June 30, 2008

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