It only took a few minutes and it didn't cost a thing.
However, the implications could be life-saving.
On Tuesday afternoon, I joined 9 million other people on the nation's bone marrow donor registry.
The donor drives were held on Monday morning, Monday afternoon and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at Alta Bates medical facilities in Berkeley.
They were organized primarily to help a veteran cardiac rehab nurse at Alta Bates in Berkeley, who is suffering from a serious blood disorder and .
The two-day drive netted 56 new names on the national registry. I was the final one at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
I read some material, talked with the medical folks who were there, filled out a form with my contact information and then took a cotton swab and dabbed the inside of my mouth four times in a different location each time. It took less than 15 minutes.
Now, I wait to see if my DNA matches up with one of the 7,000 people who is waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
It's unlikely I'll get the call.
Kimberley Hicks, the representative from Be The Match who was at Tuesday's drive, said people can be on the list for decades and never match up with someone who needs a transplant.
Since donors are only eligible until they're 61, that gives me less than four years on the registry.
If a match is found with my DNA, I would undergo some blood tests to see if I truly match up and if I'm able to give.
About 80 percent of donors provide bone marrow through a four-hour blood donation process similar to donating plasma.
The other 20 percent go through the more painful method of having a needle stuck in them to suck out the marrow.
About 30 percent of patients who find a match are paired up with a sibling. The other 70 percent find matches on the registry.
People can sign up for the registry at drives like this or they can do it through the mail by contacting Be The Match.
The odds are against it happening, but I'm hoping I get the call. It's not every day you can get to save someone's life.
Are you on the bone marrow registry? Have you ever donated bone marrow? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
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