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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  At any time, there are up to 35 Iowans who need a bone marrow transplant and are searching for a donor. Thursday you can sign up to be on the donor registry at Methodist Medical Center.

The Marrow Donor Program says bone marrow is very hard to match with people, tissue types are so unique that the likelihood of matching someone is one in 500.

“The likelihood of matching someone is based on ethnicity, because your tissue types are passed through your ethnicity so it’s really important that we get a lot of diverse young people on the registry,” Iowa Marrow Donor Program’s Elena Dietz said.

When a patient gets to the point where they need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant it’s their last option. For a lot of diseases like Leukemia, Lymphoma and Sickle Cell Anemia, it is a known cure. The Marrow Donor Program says the number one misconception is that it is extremely painful like how they portray in the movies. There are actually two ways of donating bone marrow.

“30% of the time donors will be asked to do an outpatient procedure where you go under anesthesia and doctors will take your marrow directly from your lower back but in that case, you don’t feel any pain because you are under anesthesia. You wake up and you feel a little bit sore like a good leg day at the gym and the other way of donating is like donating plasma, so the pain is as minimal as a needle in your arm and a needle in your other arm,” Dietz said.

The bone marrow drive is Thursday from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. in the atrium of Methodist Medical Center. Just bring your cellphone to sign up and they will mail you a cheek swab so your tissue can be on the registry.

If you are interested in registering as a donor but are unable to come to the event, register online by going to