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I am participating in this year’s Be The Match Walk+Run because it’s important to do right. Blood cancer has a cure. We need YOU to join the fight and help more patients.
I joined the Marrow Registry in 2000 while donating blood on a mobile blood drive. I was at McCormick Place, visiting the Chicago Auto Show and I saw a huge LifeSource blood donation bus sitting right there in the convention center hallway. After donating a pint, one of the nurses asked if I would be interested in joining the marrow registry. I gave my cheek swab and promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to November, 2011. I was called by LifeSource and told I was a potential marrow match. I went through some routine blood testing to confirm and then the process began for real. I had phone interviews, forms to complete, more blood tests, physical exams, filograstim shots to receive and then, finally, it was January 5, 2012 and I was at Loyola Hospital in Chicago with both arms useless, one arm sending blood out and the other receiving blood in. At the end of a long day of peripheral stem cell donation, I was told that I had only filled half of a bag and that I needed to donate more the next day. My arms had been killing me since the moment they put the needles in. They told me they would do a carotid artery port the next day instead of going through veins in my arms since this method was not yielding enough stem cells and time was of the essence to get my stem cells to my recipient. The next day was much easier and I had no problems filling a bag by the end of the day. I went home, recuperated and hoped for the best for my recipient. Fast forward another 2 years and I'm reading an email from Be The Match registry indicating that my recipient has asked for my contact information. I was so excited I couldn't respond fast enough! A few weeks later, I received an email from my recipient who resides in North America! We immediately began discussing the possibility of meeting and I made the trip, spent a week with my recipient and became a member of a whole new family.
The important part of this story is that the stem cell donation was a complete success and my recipient has just passed the 5 year anniversary of the stem cell donation. He is in terrific health and is doing wonderfully! People are constantly telling me that I am a hero and that what I did was such an unselfish, kind thing. To me, this was a very simple and easy procedure with minimal discomfort and minimal disruption of my schedule. It wasn't nearly as difficult as a kidney donation would be. I consider this donation to have been my duty and privilege as a member of the human race. How can anyone say "no" when they are told they are the only person on the planet who can save the life of someone with a rare and incurable disease? I could not have declined or refused to do this. I never have nor will do anything more important in my life than to have participated in this miracle of saving my recipient's life. If that was the reason I was born, I'm fine with that. If I were called again tomorrow, my answer would absolutely be "YES"!
I’ve set a fundraising goal and I need your help to reach it.The money we raise will:
Please support me and together we can show blood cancer it has met its match.
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Every 3 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer.
Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia, need a marrow transplant to survive. Most patients don’t have a fully matched donor in their family — and that’s when they turn to Be The Match®. By participating in a Be The Match Walk+Run, or donating funds, you are providing life-saving support to those patients in need. Do right, join the fight.