It was pretty interesting. I had never considered becoming a donor and was really uneducated about the process. Even running with Team In Training and helping raise money to find blood cancers, like Leukemia and Lymphoma, I was really clueless as to where “matches” were found.
There has probably been at least one or two tv shows you have watched with a story line of someone dying and needing a bone marrow transplant. There is always a drama about finding a match and will they be willing to donate, etc. John Grishom’s The Rainmaker and Marvin’s Room were two big screen movies dealing with this subject. It’s also been a story in on All My Children and my soap, The Guiding Light. There was even a study published in 1994 about the effectiveness of educating the public when combining a PSA (public service announcement) with a daytime drama.
Long story short, apparently there are more people needing transplants than there are donors. It’s a tricky business getting a match. Most of the time it’s handled with family. But then there are those without family, adopted children, unsuitable family and a multitude of other reasons that a match is not easily located.
So I decided to do it. It’s about the easiest thing in the world to do. No needles, no blood, just a form and a cotton swab inside the mouth. That’s it! It took all of 5 minutes. So they gather all your samples and form, ship it off to a lab for analysis and then you’re in the program. Easy-peasy! (That 2nd glass of vino is sneaking into my writing 😉 )
The good news today: I’m an official card carrying member of the National Marrow Donor Program.
Ultimately this means that if I am found to be a match, they will notify me with information on how to proceed with additional testing to see if I am a perfect match, if I choose to do so. Let’s face it, there are many circumstances you can face in life that potentially flying to a different city and donating marrow would just not be feasible. But hey, then again maybe it would.
Maybe you’re a match for someone in your home town. Or maybe you’re a match for a distant relative. Who knows? I guess that’s what made me do it. Because this year has taught me that you will undergo many unique challenges in your life. You just never know when it’s going to happen or where. You’re not really sure what kind of support you’re going to need or who will be there to give it. So wouldn’t it be nice to know that if you were faced with a child needing a bone marrow transplant and you couldn’t provide it; that someone else took 5 minutes of their time to see if they could help.
I did it, will you? Call (800) MARROW-2 or go here MARROW.ORG