(WYTV) – In a bone marrow transplant, healthy blood stem cells go into your body to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow. Just as some people need a solid organ transplant, those in need of a bone marrow transplant have to find a matching donor.

We need bone marrow donations from people of all races and ethnicities if we’re going to save lives. However, we don’t have enough variety when it comes to finding just the right marrow donor.

“If I have a patient that belongs to an ethnic minority, then I will only find a donor in the registry in about 20% to 25% of the time,” said Dr. Ernesto Ayala, with the Mayo Clinic.

It’s never been more important to build this registry using as many different people as possible. It’s the only way people who need a bone marrow transplant are going to be matched with someone.

Siblings and parents are sometimes matches. Otherwise, doctors have to rely on the National Bone Marrow Donation Registry. Doctors encourage people of all races to consider being a life-saving bone marrow transplant donor.