Seven years ago I worked in the marketing department at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, TX. Every eight or ten weeks I would donate blood right there at the hospital. I became a regular blood donor. One day during a routing donation, my friend and blood donor coordinator, Mindi, asked me if I wanted to join the National Marrow Donor Program. I was interested in learning more, so she informed me that they could take an additional vile of blood for testing, and keep this information in a national registry. If a patient anywhere in the U.S. was in need of bone marrow and his or her type matched mine, I would be notified to be tested to see if I was a match.
Fast forward to February of 2008. I got the call. I was a potential match for a 43-year-old man who suffers from Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Without thought or hesitation, I signed up. Test me, poke me, prod me. Do whatever. I want to help.
On February 12, 2008, I sent in my health history questionnaire to the Scott & White Center for Cancer Prevention & Care.
On March 19, 2008, I went to the The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas to have 6 viles of blood drawn and to test my antigens.
On June 18, 2008, after having been told that I had a 1/200 chance of being a match, I found out that I was that match.
On June 25, 2008, I drove to San Antonio for my physical exam for Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation.
A month later, I began my series of five Neupogen injections to put my bone marrow into overdrive in time for the donation. I thought my bones were going to explode because of the pressure that had built up within them.
I went on a pain management strike. I knew that what he was having to cope with was exponentially more difficult than what I was having to cope with.
On July 24, 2008, I did everything that I could to help.
Today at 4:57 p.m., I received a call from Olga, my marrow donor coordinator. She told me that as of the last report that was received on August 19th, “the patient has been doing great and is in remission.”
The patient is doing great and is in remission. Hearing that brought tears to my eyes and it does again as I type this now. I was blessed with this opportunity to help another human and I absolutely cannot put into words how thankful I am to have had this chance to help.
Please, become a marrow donor.