Grizzlies player Mike Conley supports bone marrow registry during African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is a critical need for African Americans to join the bone marrow registry.

July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness month. Without more donors, people searching for a cure could run out of time.

Robert Hall Jr. always looked out for his younger brother and sister.

"They said they never had a person to be a perfect match for two people, both brother and sister," Hall said.

His brother Brandon and his sister Starsha were both born with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder that can only be cured with a bone marrow transplant.

"Robert was the only one who matched quickly," Hall's mother, Connie Nelson, said.

Nelson says three out of her five children were born with the disease. Hall was able to cure two of his siblings, even though he wasn't a match for the third.

"They called me the blessed child at the hospital," he said.

Hall was 17 when he donated his bone marrow. His siblings, Starsha and Brandon were 14 at the time.

He's since learned about the tremendous need for African American donors to save lives.

"Would I do it again? Absolutely, I would," Hall Jr. said.

According to statistics, 70 percent of people needing a bone marrow transplant don't have a match in their family. That's why Grizzlies player Mike Conley teamed up with Be The Match to get people to step up and sign up.

"What makes the black community unique is our connection to each other. It runs deeper than blood lines. It redefines what it means to be family,"

African Americans make up only seven percent of the bone marrow registry. That number needs to increase in order to save patients who are battling blood diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell.

"The bottom line is people are dying on a daily basis. There is no way to sugar coat that," Brian Allison, with Be The Match, said.

You can learn more about saving lives and even join the registry by clicking here.

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