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.
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.
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.
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