Despite obstacles, they still helped people get BMT during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lockdowns and travel delays made it harder for donors to reach special centers that collect blood and bone marrow. Be The Match changed their process so that donors had fewer appointments for lab tests.
To make sure cells arrived on time for patients, Be The Match called for most donations to be done before patients needed them. In another change, most donated cells were frozen. Frozen cells keep longer than refrigerated cells.
Next, couriers transported each donation, sometimes thousands of miles. Despite fewer flights available, extra travel planning helped couriers transport precious blood and marrow cells on time. Even when professional couriers were not available, volunteer couriers were able to travel as quickly as before the pandemic.
Also, the pandemic made it harder for donors to be available. In response, transplant centers began looking for not just one matched donor, but multiple back-up donors. Be The Match was able to handle the extra searches for suitable donors, just as quickly as before the pandemic.