If You Could Save a Life, Would You?


I’ve been taken aback by the silent answer.

In August, I opened a letter that both excited and humbled me: I was a possible bone marrow match for a 12 year-old girl. If I was still interested in being a donor, I should contact the National Marrow Donor Program immediately.

I registered as a bone marrow donor back in college but had never been asked to donate. Of course, I was going to do it. This was great news! My significant other was here when I got the news and was far less enthused. He was going through some major life changes, so I chalked it up to that.

Since the letter, I have undergone additional blood work to ensure that I was indeed a match. The science requires 9 of 10 markers to be a successful match- initially, I only had 6 of 10. After health screenings, examinations, information sessions and a blood draw, I am a match.

There are two methods for donation: bone marrow exxtraction (surgical) and stem cell (non-surgical). There are pros and cons for each method, mostly for the recipient. Because I have lumbar issues, the health team at NIH decided that I should go with nonsurgical donation. Known as PBSC, this donor method entails being hooked to a machine which takes the blood, removes stem cells and puts it back into the body. It is a 6-8 hour process and requires the donor to stay in bed.

Prior to the donation, I will receive an injection per day (for five days) which will boost my stem cell generation. The initial one is done at NIH so that I can be monitored; the balance (except the final done prior to actual donation) is done at my home/work/site of my choice. Side effects of the injections and donation include joint pain and fatigue. My injections will begin next Friday; donation is scheduled for Nov. 20.

I have only told a handful of people and this is why: I got the “are you crazy” look or dead silence. “Do you even know this person?”

People- did you hear what I said?! This is a little girl’s life! I seriously had to re-evaluate my relationship based on my significant other’s response. My mom isn’t too thrilled either. Are people this selfish? Why yes they are…

Only three people have been positive, supportive and excited. If it were my child or loved one and our family was not a match, I pray someone would be a donor. My coordinator thinks I’m being too harsh: “they’re just concerned for you.” Me thinks she wears rose-colored glasses. đŸ™‚ I guess you would need to in that type of work.

So, wish me and my donor luck! If you pray, say a prayer for a successful donation and for her body to accept it. I’m excited and hopeful.

Save a life. Register to become a donor. For more information, go to http://www.bethematch.org

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