The public is invited to a “Be The Match” bone marrow registry drive at High Mountain Hall, 5 Mountain St., Saturday, Aug. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tracy Jalbuena is a 44 year-old wife, mother of two children ages 16 and 12, emergency room doctor, blogger and cancer patient. In August 2014 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the third-most-common blood cancer. She has been undergoing chemotherapy for two years and is searching for a stem cell donor for a potentially curative allogeneic stem cell transplant.

As a doctor in Pen Bay Medical Center’s Emergency Department, Jalbuena has provided medical treatment to all comers in the community. In a twist of fate, cancer has made her unable to work, and she needs a matching bone marrow donor to save her life.

Multiple myeloma is an aggressive and deadly cancer of blood and bone. A donation of bone marrow stem cells could beat the disease back, but the donor recipient must share exactly the same type of marrow. Marrow types are inherited, and because Jalbuena’s multi-ethnic Filipino and European heritage is rare, her bone marrow type is also rare. None of her siblings is a match, and multiple searches of the national bone marrow registry have come up empty.

Jalbuena is not alone in her need. Across the United States, more than a million people suffer from a variety of syndromes and cancers of the blood, including globoid-cell leukodystrophy, leukemia, metachromatic leukodystrophy, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and severe combined immunodeficiency. Without a bone marrow transplant from a matching donor, people with these diseases will die.

A simple, quick and painless cheek swab is all it takes to be added to the national bone marrow registry. A simple search of the registry connects patients to donors, and the Be the Match Foundation pays all expenses associated with donation.

Bone marrow registry drives focus on people in good health aged 18 to 44, since they tend to have the healthiest marrow. People who are younger, older, or excluded due to health conditions can help simply by spreading the word and encouraging those they know to participate. Those who cannot make it to the donor drive in Camden can order a free test kit through the mail, also available via the BeTheMatch.org website.

Jalbuena and her family are not giving up. “We’ve been looking for two years, but I know that someone out there must be a match for me,” she said. “We just need to find that person. And it’s not just about me. There are so many people waiting for a donor." “Even if someone isn't my match, they could help someone else who is in dire need,” she said.