November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month, and Bechtel's Pharmacy is helping save lives by participating in the first-ever National Community Pharmacy Bone Marrow Donor Drive with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Foundation and DKMS, the world's largest bone marrow donor center.

Every 5 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and every 10 minutes, blood cancer takes a precious life. Furthermore, children are the group most widely affected by leukemia and a bone marrow transplant may be their only hope for a second chance at life.

Every year, more than 10,000 men, women and children could benefit from a bone marrow transplant. About 70 percent of patients must rely on an unrelated donor to offer them this precious gift of life.

Currently, only 3 out of 10 patients will receive the transplant that could save their life.

Finding a compatible donor is the largest barrier in saving the lives of those with blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. It is always a challenge given that certain tissue traits of the donor and the recipient must match. Because "tissue type" is inherited like skin and eye color, patients are most likely to find a match from someone of a similar ethnic background. Thus, patients from minority ethnic backgrounds are far less likely than Caucasians to find a matched donor because many minority groups are under-represented in the national bone marrow registry.

This bone marrow donor drive is also an important step towards recruiting bone marrow donors from all races and ethnicities to help diversify the donor pool, so that all patients have a fair chance at finding their life-saving donor match.

Through this bone marrow drive, independent community pharmacies around the country will be partnering with DKMS, the most experienced bone marrow donor center, to effectively pair those in need with those who care.

Bechtel's Pharmacy is hosting a Bone Marrow Donor Drive on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at our location in Slatington at 302 Main Street and on Thursday Nov. 19 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at our Walnutport location at 4423 Lehigh Drive. For more information, you may call the pharmacy at (610)767-4121.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1953 to honor former NARD Executive Secretary John W. Dargavel. Contributions to the NCPA Foundation are tax-deductible as charitable donations to the extent permitted under federal tax law. The NCPA Foundation supports the growth and advancement of independent community pharmacy through low-interest educational loans and scholarships to pharmacy students, critical research and programs to improve the success of independent pharmacy, community service programs, and financial assistance to community pharmacy owners for their recovery in the event of disaster, accidents, illness, or adverse circumstances so that they can continue to serve their communities without interruption. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.ncpafoundation.org .

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains represent an $84 billion marketplace, employ over 300,000 employees and dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org .

The DKMS mission is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors for leukemia patients. More than 18,000 DKMS donors have helped save lives by donating their bone marrow. DKMS is the largest and most experienced bone marrow donor center in the world with close to 2 million registered donors. DKMS Americas is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information about DKMS and to learn more about registering as a bone marrow donor, please visit www.dkmsamericas.org .