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The News-Times' mailbag includes letters imploring Congress to act on climate change and medical transplants.

Transplant program needs congressional support

I work at Oregon Health & Science University as an unrelated donor coordinator for the bone marrow transplant program.

Every day, I help patients suffering from blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma in addition to bone marrow failure disorders. The curative treatment for these conditions is a bone marrow transplant, and I work specifically with the 70% of patients who do not have a donor match within their family.

To hopefully find patients a matching donor, I turn to the Nation's Registry, which was established by Congress in 1987 and is operated by National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match. However, this search is not always easy.

Each year, as many as 3,000 patients in need are unable to access transplant, and this disproportionately affects the BIPOC community.

Since its inception, NMDP/Be The Match has facilitated over 108,000 transplants. Despite their success, more must be done to break down the barriers to access to transplant.

To meet this vision, NMDP/Be The Match along with those of us in the donor and recipient community, are asking Congress for help. We are requesting an increase in funding for the Nation's Registry, and that request currently sits with the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is a member.

While I am fortunate to help patients every day, I want to ensure that all patients have the same opportunity. It's heartbreaking when I must tell a patient we can't find a suitable donor, and that they will have to endure more chemotherapy while I continue the search. It's even worse when I must explain that we have run out of options.

In honor of these patients, I am asking Sen. Merkley to fully fund the extraordinary gift of transplant.

Joan Morgan, Happy Valley

Curbing climate change isn't just up to Congress, it's up to us

It's getting warmer. Have you noticed?

Climate change is huge — and getting bigger. Consider recent record high temperatures here in Oregon. Wildfires getting more frequent. Salmon disappearing. Wildlife moving to the north and to higher ground. Crop loss and its real impact on farmers' pocketbooks. And on orchardists. Ranchers.

Does anyone really still believe that all these phenomena are coincidence — or confined to Oregon? Not me. Join me today. Express support for national legislation to fight climate change before it's too late. For instance the Clean Energy for America Act, S.1298 proposed by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden would update relevant tax code for both industry and consumers and create new jobs.

Meanwhile Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio and other committee leaders have introduced the INVEST in America Act, a huge infrastructure undertaking that would improve highways, vehicles, railroads, transit, delivery of drinking water and removal of wastewater. It would increase employment opportunities in established trades while leaving a better place for our children and grandchildren.

And all of us can also do more to reduce our personal impact on global warming. Try eating a little less meat. Walk more.

Don't wait — the clock's ticking.

Stan Jewett, Aloha


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