Center to cover more costs of SE blood drive

Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle will cover the cost of processing blood samples donated by 321 Caucasians in a recent drive Southeast Alaska, center officials said.

The family of Alex Cesar, 6, of Juneau, who has leukemia, organized drives in late May and early June in several Southeast Alaska communities. The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium also collected blood samples in Juneau and Sitka.

The federal government covers the $65 cost of processing samples from minorities, but covers only $40 of the cost of Caucasians' samples, center officials said.

Puget Sound Blood Center officials initially were unsure whether they would be able to cover the cost of the Caucasians' samples. But officials said this week they have agreed to pay for it, said Andrea Marsden, who supervises the center's bone-marrow donor department. The center won't be able to accept more samples from Caucasians in Alaska unless they are accompanied by a $25 fee, she added.

About 1,010 blood samples were taken in all, organizers said. The samples will be tested for the genetic markers on the white blood cells, and the donors placed on a national registry.

The Puget Sound Blood Center is the National Marrow Donor Program's donor center for Alaska.

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