Let's discuss bone marrow donation

This week’s featured article


The Japan Marrow Donor Program has been flooded with donation inquiries since star swimmer Rikako Ikee, 18, revealed Tuesday that she has leukemia.

“We are still very short of donors. We are waiting for your cooperation,” the organization said on Twitter.

According to the JMDP, the average daily number of requests for information via its official website stood at 5.6 prior to Ikee’s announcement. A total of 270 such requests were recorded Tuesday.

“We increased the capacity in a hurry” in response to a surge in traffic to the website, a JMDP official said.

Leukemia is mainly treated with anti-cancer agents. In some cases, however, patients need transplants of hematopoietic stem cells, which exist in bone marrow.

Aspiring donors can register with the marrow bank after filling in an application and providing a 2-milliliter blood sample.

Some 3,000 patients are currently registered with the bank and waiting for bone marrow donors.

“Currently, the proportion of patients who find matching donors and receive transplants stands at only 60 percent,” the official said. “We hope to gain cooperation from more and more people.”

Ikee expressed gratitude Wednesday for the messages of encouragement she received following her announcement the day before.

“Thank you for the many messages since yesterday,” she wrote on Twitter.

Ikee, who at the 2018 Asian Games became the first female athlete to be named MVP, said she was heartened by the many comments she received from those who said they had registered at bone-marrow banks or had donated their blood.

“I think these (messages) give hope not only to me but also to those who are going through something difficult like me,” she said.

First published in The Japan Times on Feb. 14 .

Warm up

One-minute chat about disease.


Collect words related to donations e.g., charity, contribution, give

New words

1) transplant: to move something or someone from one place to another, e.g., “My mother will go into surgery for a kidney transplant.”

2) gratitude: the quality of being thankful, e.g., “It is with much gratitude that we accept your donation of ¥1 million to our charity.”

3) hearten: to make more cheerful or confident, e.g., “The earthquake survivors were heartened by the amount of donations made to help them recover.”

Guess the headline

Japanese bone marrow bank f_ _ _ _ _ _ with i_ _ _ _ _ _ _ s after Rikako Ikee’s leukemia revelation


1) Who is Rikako Ikee?

2) How is leukemia treated?

3) What percentage of patients find a donor?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you know about leukemia?

2) What did you think when you heard about Rikako Ikee’s diagnosis?

3) What can we do for people who have life-threatening diseases?






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