Did you know that in the United States alone, one person dies every ten minutes due to leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma?
This post is quite unlike most things I normally share with you. While I always hope that calls to action will transcend self-imposed boundaries to compassion, this one really does come without religion or politics.
This past summer, after a friend lost her father to leukemia, and after watching another close friend fight lymphoma – I registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, through SAMAR. I had learned that while healthy bone marrow can save lives, many people who urgently need it are unable to find viable donor matches. Signing up to be a potential bone marrow donor is easy – some simple paperwork and a painless cheek swab are all it takes to submit your cells for DNA matching and evaluation.
Just a few weeks ago, I received a phone call and letter, notifying me that I had come up as a match for a 61-year old woman with leukemia. The process from that point moved quickly: I submitted to an evaluation of my physical health. Then, bloodwork would be sent in to determine if the patient and I were in fact a perfect match. As far as I was concerned, there was no thinking it through – if I was a match, I would absolutely undergo the donation process.
Regrettably, my health evaluation revealed that while my donation would have been safe for the recipient to receive (no communicable diseases, a healthy lifestyle, etc) – the donation process would not actually be physically safe for me. If the procedure would cause abnormally high risk to the donor, the National Marrow Donor Program will not proceed. Unfortunately, then, I cannot help to save this patient – or any other – with my own bone marrow.
That’s where you come in. I can’t help – but maybe you can.
If you are unable to donate for whatever reason – like an autoimmune disorder – you can still contribute to help save lives. Call 1-800-MARROW-2 to learn more, or visit this website.