On Tuesday, Kim Kardashian rallied her 48 million Twitter followers toward a good cause — and boy, did they listen. In a series of tweets, Kardashian called attention to a man named Adam, a father of three who is suffering from a blood cancer called primary myelofibrosis, and desperately needs a bone marrow donor. According to Gift of Life, an organization that facilitates donor registration, there were 3,000 requests for online kits from people looking to see if they were a donor match for him within the 24 hours following Kardashian's ask. To put that into perspective, the organization told Refinery29 that it typically received around 10 requests per day before Adam's campaign, Hope 4 Adam, began. This might not sound like a huge number, but it is when you consider the effort required for registering with organizations like Gift of Life and Be the Match. When you sign up to be a donor, it's more than just adding your name to a list — you're also signing up to swab your cheek for DNA, donate a blood sample, and go through a physical exam. Bone marrow donor registries are crucial for patients with blood cancers like Adam's. In primary myelofibrosis, bone marrow is replaced with fibrous scar tissue, affecting its ability to produce vital blood cells. Over time, this can lead to bone marrow failure, meaning the marrow can't keep up with the body's need for healthy blood cells. The disease is rare — 18,000 people in the United States are living with it, according to MPN Research Foundation — but blood cancers are not. Someone in the United States is diagnosed with one every three minutes, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
For people with blood cancers, including primary myelofibrosis, bone marrow transplants can be a cure, but finding a donor that is a match can be very difficult. A person's siblings are most likely to be bone marrow matches due to genetic similarities, but if someone doesn't have siblings, their best chance of finding a match is to look for someone with a similar ethnic background, Gift of Life told Refinery29 in a statement. But even then, finding a match can still be next to impossible, as Adam's situation proves. All of this is why Kardashian's call for donations is a great thing for Adam — and for anyone else who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Want to help? You can sign up for a donor kit yourself on Gift of Life, and stay up-to-date on Adam's progress on the Hope4Adam Facebook page.