Results-driven publicity attracts volunteer donors
Patients battling leukemia, lymphoma, and other lifethreatening diseases depend on the Be The Match Registry℠, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), to find a marrow match and a second chance at life. Because tissue types are inherited, the best donor is most likely someone of the same race or ethnicity. But Dr. Anh Reiss — a Vietnamese-American doctor and mother of two from Houston — could not find a matched donor when she needed a marrow transplant. Out of a registry of more than seven million, only 15,000 are Vietnamese — and none provided a possible match for Reiss. She also learned that many other Vietnamese patients like her need a transplant, but struggle to find matched donors.
Reiss' family and friends developed Team Anh to raise awareness about the critical need for more Vietnamese donors on the Be The Match Registry. The team planned a huge recruitment campaign during an annual assemblage of Vietnamese Roman Catholics in Carthage, Mo. The NMDP partnered with Team Anh, and turned to Padilla Speer Beardsley to raise regional and national awareness about the event. Padilla's publicity heralded the event nationally and complemented the media activity coordinated by Team Anh.
The donor registry drive was a major success. Key media placements included:
- A significant segment on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" — a show with more than 12 million listeners. In addition to Reiss' powerful patient story, the segment mentioned Be The Match Registry by name and contained a substantial quote from Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO of the NMDP.
- An AP story was picked up by dozens of media outlets around the country, as well within the four-state region that includes Missouri. The article also contained a link to BeTheMatch.org.
Besides the extensive coverage, nearly 2,100 new members joined the Be The Match Registry at the event.