Gift of Life Marrow Registry and Miami Beach Police Department Address the Shortage of Hispanic Donors to Save Lives of Patients with Blood Cancer

BOCA RATON, Fla., Oct. 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As part of a program to save lives this Hispanic Heritage Month, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, a Boca Raton-based blood stem cell and bone marrow registry, and the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD), are raising awareness about the disparities faced by Latino and Hispanic patients battling blood cancer. With particular emphasis on improving diversity on the donor registry, MBPD and Gift of Life are encouraging people with Latin ancestry to give the gift of life, or regalo de vida, to help those in need.

Hispanic children and adults in the United States have higher incidence rates and worse overall survival of certain types of blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, than other populations. The only known cure for many of these cancers is a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant, making the worldwide bone marrow registry a lifesaving resource for the community. However, because so few people with Latin ethnicity are registered as donors, only 48 percent of Hispanic cancer patients can find the matching donors who can save their lives.

This effort is part of a broader partnership between Gift of Life and the Miami Beach Police Department, with support from Mayor Dan Gelber and other City of Miami Beach officials, which has encouraged local police officers, firefighters, and community leaders to swab their cheeks and volunteer as donors. To date, the program has added 198 new donors to the registry, raised nearly $10,000 in funds and found two lifesaving matches for blood cancer patients.

“Latino and Hispanic families face the same challenge today that I faced in 1991 when I was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a transplant but was told that my chances for survival were unlikely because there were no compatible donors for someone with my Jewish background,” said Gift of Life Marrow Registry Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg. “My life was saved due to the kindness of strangers, and we are on a mission to create equal health outcomes for everyone.”

The factors used to match donors with patients are inherited, similar to the way hair and eye color are passed on genetically. This means the best likelihood of finding a match is between two people who share ethnicity or genetic heritage. Once a donor has joined the registry, if they are a match for a child or adult with cancer, either today or in the future, Gift of Life can call and offer them the opportunity to save a life.

“We know from experience that potential donors for patients are out there, but the only way to match a donor with a patient in need is through the registry,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Wayne Jones. “This is why we are urging residents of the City of Miami Beach to join the registry. Together with Gift of Life, we can help those who live in our great city and beyond.”

“Every one of us wants the best chance at life for our children, family, friends, and community members,” said Feinberg. “With the support from City of Miami Beach and Miami Beach Police Department, we can change the odds of survival for people with blood cancer.”

Anyone between 18 and 35 years old may join the registry by simply requesting a cheek swab registration at

About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The registry houses its own state-of-the-art stem cell collection center, biobank, and laboratory. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit

Media contact: Amy Glanzman
Phone: (561) 561-982-2900; Email:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Carlos Chattah Photography