Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Saxophonist Michael Brecker In Need of Help

Get Tested to Save a Life! Help saxophonist Michael Brecker and countless others with life-threatening illnesses—get tested to donate bone marrow

Saxophonist Michael Brecker has been diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and it's critical that he has a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant. The initial search for a donor, including Michael’s siblings and children, has not resulted in a suitable match. In tribute to Michael, M-Audio will pay for the testing of as many people as possible at any National Marrow Donor Program center. Please read on for more information and specific details about getting tested.

You will be signing up to save the life of anyone needing a transplant due to leukemia, lymphoma, MDS, sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia and more.

Important Information About This process: Screening involves only a blood test to identify your tissue type—which is completely different than blood type. It’s easy to get screened at any donor center of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). The cost for the test is generally $40 to $95, but the fee will be waived if you tell the center you are getting tested in connection with M-Audio. (Please note that testing is already free for minority groups). A match for Michael would be most likely come from those of Eastern European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are so affiliated, please make a special effort to get tested immediately. After the initial testing, all medical expenses will be paid for by the patient (Michael) or the patient’s insurance.

Go to or call 1-800-MARROW-2 to find the donor center nearest you. If it’s difficult to make it to a blood center, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes (800-915-3695). Order the “HLA (A)(B)(DR)” kit for $140. You will need to have a small vial of blood drawn. Be sure to indicate to Tepnel that your test is for “Michael Brecker.”Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael or any other patient, please understand that there have been tremendous advances in "bone marrow transplants" and the term itself can be misleading. In almost all instances, blood stem cells can be harvested directly from your blood at major cancer centers.

As a donor, you would simply be connected to a machine that extracts the needed cells before your blood reenters your system. On occasion, such cells may have to be harvested directly from your hip. You may experience a bit of tenderness for a few days—a small price to pay for saving a life.As a volunteer donor, you are never legally obligated to donate. However, a late decision not to donate can be life threatening to a patient, and among the most disheartening news a family can ever receive. Please carefully consider your decision to be a donor for Michael and all others in need.

If you have any questions, please read through the FAQs About Stem Cell Transplants.

If you have additional questions after reading the FAQs, please contact Michael's management office at (212) 302-9200 or, or visit one of the sites below.

To order a private HLA kit:

For further information on whether you qualify as a donor:

For learning where to get tested at a National Marrow Donor Program blood center:

If you’re Asian American: or

If you’re African American:

If you’re Jewish:

If you’re Latino or Hispanic:


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