Help a Dancer: Be the Match

Dancer with LeukemiaIn December 2014, Joe Bunn, a dancer with Ballett im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells. After a year of chemotherapy treatments, it has become clear that Bunn will need a bone marrow transplant. What is proving difficult in his recovery, however, is the search for a donor. After three months, no match has been found. With a rare tissue type, Bunn’s likely match would an African-American male; but in reality, anyone could be the right candidate. A worldwide search has commenced to find a match for Bunn, for a transplant that could save his life. 


Luckily, there are many organizations and databases that aim to connect those in need of a bone marrow transplant to a donor with a matching tissue type. Anyone can submit their information to a database, such as, and just this 10-minute process could be what saves another’s life. Be the Match asks volunteers to register online and mail in a cheek swab. Then, he/she will be added to the database. 


Once a volunteer is a confirmed match for a transplant, only a small amount of blood is required, and all expenses are paid for by Be the Match. Currently, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, only 19 percent of African-Americans who need a transplant find a perfect match, as compared to 75 percent of whites. Help change this statistic by becoming a volunteer today.


“I’ve had people inbox me and say they want to help by getting tested for me, but they would not like to be a donor for others in the database,” Bunn says. “I then explain that if they join, they have a one percent chance of ever being a match for anyone from the beginning. Then they feel like those odds don’t inconvenience their life so much, so they join anyway. But then I tell them that it’s important, that it’s just the right thing to do to save a life in such an easy way.”


Even though Bunn resides in Germany, a match can be found for him worldwide, and each country has its own database. Below is a list of countries and their corresponding organization. Consider becoming a donor today; doing so could save a fellow dancer’s life.




























Or find your country here