This month we celebrate my mother’s 10th birthday. Yes, you read that correctly.
August 11, 2020 is her 10th anniversary since she received a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
My mother was diagnosed with the rare form of Neuroendocrine cancer in 2009. After receiving chemotherapy for 7 months she was in remission. We thought we were in the clear and in a state of celebration when she began to feel ill again. It was then, four months later, that she was diagnosed with Leukemia. The Leukemia was a direct result of her chemotherapy treatment from the Neuroendocrine cancer. We would then find out that 1 in 1000 patients that received her form of chemotherapy would go on to be diagnosed with Leukemia.
It was then in June 2010 that we were introduced to Be The Match, an organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, which manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
The search was on to find her a bone marrow donor for a transplant that could save her life. We began to host bone marrow drives in our local community with the hope that one of our family or community members would be her match.
Here are some facts that we had to face:
• 70% of all patients who need a transplant don’t have a fully matched donor in their family
• A patient’s likelihood of finding a matching donor through the Be The Match Registry are between 23-77%, depending on their ethnic background
We consider ourselves lucky because she was able to find her match within 3 months and received her bone marrow transplant on August 11, 2010. The road to recover was not easy and is never truly over but we are extremely grateful not only for the way our community came together and showed up, but to the Be The Match global bone marrow directory for finding my mother’s donor.
To celebrate her 10th anniversary this month, I will host a virtual drive over the next 10 days to increase the number of potential donors as well as raise funds for the Be The Match organization. There are 2 ways you can contribute to save a life today:
1. Become a bone marrow registrant by requesting a swab kit- I promise it’s simple and painless! Click here to learn more: Join.BeTheMatch.org/Swab4TenYears
2. Donate financially to help support the organization that is finding patients their match every day- Donate above!