Be the Match

I signed up to be a donor through the National Marrow Donor Program about fifteen years ago. During a conference I wandered through the exhibit hall between workshops and paused in front of a booth hosted by some nice folks soliciting volunteers to join the bone marrow registry.

They asked and I said sure, but almost rethought the decision when the woman said they needed a blood sample. Needles and I have an uneasy relationship. The first time I tried to give blood in high school, I hit the floor. My veins are extra small or something, at the least, they’re stubbornly resistant to poking needles. I’ve even hit the floor in the hospital…several times. Luckily, the phlebotemist onsite was excellent and only collapsed two veins in the process of extracting the tiny vial.

Over the years I randomly updated my change-of-addresses and contact information. I give these folks a lot of credit for being able to keep track of me. From the time I passed my first driver’s exam and started motoring about, I’ve always had the little donor sticker, but I never thought much about organ donation until my nephew needed a kidney.

You gain a lot of perspective by watching parents struggle with the literal possibility their child might die before a donor is found. It’s doubly difficult when you understand that receiving the donor kidney to save your loved one – means another family has experienced the tragedy of losing their child. That exposure helped me redefine some of my perspectives about the important things in life.

And then last week, I got the call.

Actually, it was an e-mail, followed by a phone call, followed by a letter. That little sample of me, collected so many years ago, has found a match. I might be able to help someone and it isn’t much of a sacrifice on my part, really. I don’t have to lose anything except some cells.

For me, this is the right choice. In the end, I may not even be the one selected as the BEST match, but if I am, I’ll be willing to weather a little discomfort in order to provide a stranger the opportunity for better health and maybe continued life.

Wouldn’t you?

If you’ve never thought about it – please do. If your beliefs, lifestyle or health do not prohibit participating in donor programs, please consider giving the gift of life.

Someday it could be you or someone you care about that desperately waits for a stranger to say yes.

You can click on these links to learn more about giving blood, registering as an organ donor or a bone marrow donor, and read about how others donate life.

Tags: organ donation, organ donors, bone marrow, leukemia, donate life, give blood, give the gift of life, save a life, make a difference, get involved, share life, be the match, organ donor foundation

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  1. #1 by Lani Wendt Young on October 21, 2011 - 10:49 am

    Thank you for an excellent, insightful post.

  2. #2 by Lesann Berry on October 21, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    Hi Lani! Thanks for visiting and reading. I know the idea of donating isn't for everyone – but it never hurts to ask people to think about something they might never have really considered.

  3. #3 by Tameri Etherton on October 21, 2011 - 11:03 pm

    What an amazing gift you are giving someone! I found out when my step-mom had cancer that I can't donate blood and it made me feel terrible. Then, a few years ago my friend's sister needed marrow and I was able to give some of mine to her. It didn't absolve my guilt with my step-mom, but it helped.It's such a simple thing to do. Thank you for donating!

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on October 22, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    Thanks Tameri. It really is a simple thing that makes such a difference.

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