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When people develop diseases like leukemia or aplastic anemia their bone marrow becomes sick and dysfunctional. Ultimately, their healthy bone marrow cells are overwhelmed by those that can't make the everyday cells they need to stay alive. The only way to save them is to replace their diseased bone marrow cells with bone marrow cells donated by a healthy person who is genetically similar - this procedure is called a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

More than 12 million volunteers have signed up to be bone marrow donors. However, people of mixed heritage - those of mixed race or ethnicity - frequently aren’t able to find a genetically similar bone marrow donor because the combination of DNA they inherited from their mother and father is difficult to find. Most of them either die because they can't find a donor or are forced to use bone marrow cells from a donor that only partially matches their DNA. Unfortunately, adult bone marrow cells have a powerful immune system that is programmed to kill anything that they recognize as not being them - like bacteria, cancer cells and viruses. This is why you are able to get over a cold or the flu and not come down with every cancer known to man. The problem is that those same things that make adult bone marrow cells great things to have when they belong to you, make them dangerous things to have when they are put into someone they only partially match. In some cases they work fine, but in other cases they attack and try to kill you just like they kill cancers, colds and infections.

Become My Hero was developed by a cancer scientist when his daughter could not find a donor. Our mission complements that of the NMDP, DKMS and other donor registries. Their primary mission is to build the public donor rolls so that almost everyone will have a good chance of finding a donor. Our mission is to find cord blood donors for those the public donor registries aren't able to help. We provide hope for those who need hope.

Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord after a baby is delivered, and collecting it is absolutely safe, harmless and painless to both mother and baby. Cord blood contains the same stem cells that can repopulate bone marrow with healthy cells. However, because it comes from a baby, it hasn't learned what it is supposed to attack - this is why you have to immunize babies and protect them from getting everything from a bad cold to whopping cough to an infection. So unlike adult bone marrow cells, a person can receive a stem cell transplant with cord blood and doesn't have to worry as much about the donor cells killing him or her. Less than 1% of all transplant were done using cord blood in 2006. Today that's greater than 28%.

Mandi's story has been featured in hundreds of newspapers, blogs, websites and TV news shows. Thousands of potential bone marrow and cord blood donors have enrolled to help her. As a consequence, we've help transform her from a young lady who did not have a donor into a young lady who had a partially matched bone marrow donor and finally into a young lady who has two partially matched cord blood donors and is ready for her cord blood transplant.

But for some, this is a long war and not a single battle! Leukemia is an insidious and cruel disease and most patients relapse at least twice. That means they often need more than one transplant to survive.

We, therefore, will continue to search for additional cord blood just in case her disease ever returns and she needs another transplant.

Listen to what Mandi's been going through and imagine how neat it would be if your baby saved her life. And then think about this, if you don't donate your cord blood, it will likely be thrown away with the medical waste.

Individuals can be as different as night and day. However, different races and ethnicities, more or less, demonstrate some HLA types more than others. Babies born with any combination of German, Ukrainian and Russian heritage have a higher likelihood of producing cord blood that can be used to save Mandi's life, and we're all but begging anyone having a baby with this heritage to be donate.

If you are expecting to deliver before October 15, 2010 and would like to donate your baby's cord blood, please read the steps below.

It's easy to Become Mandi's Hero.

Step 1: You Sign Up
Click the link below to Become Mandi's Hero and answer a few simple health questionnaire. You will immediately receive a cord blood donation enrollment form by email if you are able to donate.

Step 2: We Send You a Collection Kit
We will send you a cord blood collection kit as soon as we receive your completed form - you may provide your completed form by fax, email or mail.

Step 3: You Have Your Cord Blood Collected
Take your kit to the hospital or birthing center when you're ready to deliver and your delivery professional will collect the cord blood after your baby is delivered. Then call the toll free number that came with the kit, any time of day or night, and a courier service will pick up the package and ship it to us.

Step 4: We Determine if it's a Match
Your cord blood will be tested to see if it matches Mandi. Cord blood that is not used for Mandi will be stored and listed in the global registry for others who may someday need it for a stem cell transplant or research.

Click here to enroll as a cord blood donor and Become Mandi's Hero