I joined "Be the Match" back in 2014 when my friend Erica was in need of a bone marrow transplant. She had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and her world and the world of the people that love her had changed forever. She handled the news and the whole process with grace and a strength that I will always be amazed by. After countless months of pain and the hard medical journey that goes along with such a diagnosis, Erica got her transplant.
Fast-forward to 2016, and she has just gotten married to the love of her life and continues to "wow" her friends and family with her achievements in medical school and her desire to continue to get back to her other passion: running.
She has handled life post-transplant with the same strength she's always had. So much so, that sometimes you forget how much it must still impact her day-to-day life.
So, today, I was scrolling through my emails. I often get "Be the Match" emails as I am on their registry, but I usually just flip right past it. However, today, I felt the need to click on it and to read more. It was about ways that you can still help raise awareness and funds so that "Be the Match" can continue to find donors for people just like Erica.
And, that got me thinking too. As humans, anytime something traumatic or life-changing happens, we respond with immediate emotionally-driven instincts. We do whatever we can to help and to fight. And then, as life is supposed to, it goes on and you move on. Things start to go back to a new normal.
I say "new normal" because, although life may go on, it will have changed each and every one of us and opened our eyes and our hearts to the struggles of others that we may never have known about before.
While, I may not know anyone personally that needs a donor for a transplant right now, I sure did 2 years ago. And, the fact that someone that never met Erica agreed to be a donor for her, a stranger, says something so beautiful about kindness and the human spirit.
So, in honor of my beautiful friend and all the other people who have beautiful friends that are where Erica was in 2014, I am hoping that people will find it in their hearts to donate or to register to "Be the Match". Your gift can add new potential marrow donors to the registry, assist patients with uninsured transplant costs, and fund innovative research to improve transplant outcomes.