I had moved 11 times when a courier appeared at the door to our temporary rental home in Vermont bearing a letter saying I was a match to someone needing a bone marrow donation. I had given birth less than a week prior and could not move forward with the process.
I had moved a grand total of 14 times since joining the registry in college during a drive in our student center when my husband received a call asking him to have me call in. I returned that call and am now in the process leading to bone marrow donation.
I learned two things. The National Marrow Donor Program and Be The Match is really REALLY good at finding people and that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding donation and the registry itself.
I will be writing my way through this process as I wrap my head around it, trying to answer questions where I can. Time to start with a few questions to kick things off that came up from friends when I introduced the idea.
Do you know the patient?
No. All I know is that he is in his 50's.
Why are you donating?
My father in law received a stranger marrow donation while fighting leukemia in 2012 and it's a large part of why he is still with us today. I want to bless someone in the same way that we were blessed.
How can I sign up for the registry? Who are they looking for?
Sign Up Here. The main group that they are looking for is 18-44 year olds. HLA (human leukocyte antigen) markers used to match are inherited so ancestry can play a part in match. For this reason I strongly encourage my friends of color to register as there are groups that are underrepresented.
|Source: Be The Match|
Why are you writing about this?
Honestly, I struggled with this. I certainly didn't want anyone to think that I was looking for asspats or praise. I think it is a really important topic and I would love to see more folks join the registry. And selfishly I struggle sometimes with perfection. I want to be able to tell a neat little story and so I procrastinate waiting for things to be perfect. With donation there is no guarantee that my story will wrap up in a pretty little package. Everything could work out and I could donate, or they could at the last moment have a better match. Writing about something with an unknown ending will be good for me.
I'll be back with more on donation as I go through my process. What questions do you all have?