I realized that my posting about typing kits for the NMDP might have come off sounding a little strange. I'm referring to the part about non-minority registrants. Of course it's free for everyone until May 19. In most of my experiences typing is usually free for minority participants and there is usually a small fee for non-minorities. Don't quote this as gospel since I am by no means an expert.
There are so few minorities registered with the NMDP and globally. When I was first told that I had to have a transplant, it didn't occur to me that my Anglo-Irish-Vietnamese-Chinese heritage would be such an obstacle. When I was told that there were potentially 26 HLA matches for me globally, I didn't worry. 26 is a lot, right? As it turns out, in the big scheme of things it's not. My 26 matches dwindled down to zero. How many times does this happen on a daily basis? The web is saturated with stories of people waiting for life saving transplants who can't proceed because there are no HLA matches on the books. I was supremely lucky in that I was able to be matched for a cord blood transplant. Somewhere out in the world is a little boy who's parents gifted me with a second chance. Not every waiting transplant patient is so lucky, or eligible for the same procedure.
So please, please, please get registered. Some very generous sponsors are allowing the kits to be sent out for free until May 19. If you're interested, or just curious, please follow this link: http://www.donorgarden.org/main/default.aspx
If you're a minority or mixed race (like me:)) it's particularly urgent that you get registered. You could be the one in one-million who could save the life of some one waiting for a transplant. Getting registered is absolutely painless and won't take up a lot of your time. Please.