Who Is Angels In Disguise?

Angels In Disguise began in 2018, by two-time bone marrow donor, Dr. Indria Gillespie as an educational and research based nonprofit, 501(c)3, national organization headquartered in Northern California.


CEO and Founder

Dr. Indria Gillespie, the president and founder of Angels In Disguise, developed a passion for the Be The Match bone marrow registry after joining in 1994 at a bone marrow drive. Although she was not a match for the little boy seeking a match during that drive, she became a match in 2000 with a 46-year-old African American male with a blood borne cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome. She donated bone marrow (surgical procedure) for him in June 2001. After donating bone marrow in 2001, she began to volunteer for the local affiliate in Sacramento, California at bone marrow drives, giving presentations, and writing opt-ed pieces for publication. She became a match a second time in January 2015 to a 43-year-old African American female. She underwent the peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) non-surgical procedure in December 2015. Indria Gillespie also serves on Improving Access to Be The Match’s Cell Therapies for People of African Ancestry: a Be The Match bone marrow registry committee.

Dr. Gillespie completed her doctorate in July 2018. Her dissertation research was on Increasing Blacks’ Representation and Utilization on the Bone Marrow Registry: An Action-Oriented Needs Assessment. Her research findings indicated that Blacks were not on the Be The Match bone marrow registry due to knowledge, motivation, and cultural (KMC) limitations. She utilized design thinking practices allowing those being studied to develop the solution that would narrow the participants’ KMC limitations. Her study included focus groups comprised of Blacks between the ages of 18-61 living and/or working in the Sacramento, California area. The participants indicated that an educational symposium would narrow Blacks’ KMC gaps. To give credibility, the participants indicated that the educational symposium be facilitated by a Black person who had donated bone marrow. The educational symposium consisted of a pre- and post-test to measure the participants KMC gaps before and after the symposium, a quick overview of the symposium, a brief biography of the facilitator, videos (about Be The Match bone marrow registry, the bone marrow matching process and donation procedures, and the critical need for Blacks to join the registry), and a panel discussion with questions and answers. The panelist consisted of three Black previous bone marrow donors that donated to non-related recipients. The educational symposium was tested in the field in an African American Experience course at a community college in the Sacramento, California area. The educational symposium resulted in 15% of Blacks and 30% of people of color joining the Be The Match bone marrow registry. In contrast, prior to the symposium, Dr. Gillespie had observed a bone marrow drive conducted by Be The Match bone marrow registry. She observed the solicitation of Blacks to join Be The Match bone marrow registry. None of them had joined.