I started this blog to share my story with my friends and other potential donors so they can see how easy it is to become a bone marrow donor and what to expect.
It all started when a friend of the family, a distant cousin if you will, was suffering from a recurrence of lymphoma and he needed a bone marrow transplant. The family was running benefits and even a bone marrow donor drive encouraging people to sign up to join the registry to see if they could find Andy a match. In addition to that, just months prior my aunt had donated a kidney to her brother, my uncle. That inspired me as well. I more than likely couldn’t donate any other organs, couldn’t donate much to many causes financially, and it just seemed natural to be willing to donate bone marrow.
I shared this with my family and a few friends and a week or so later, after reading about how to sign up to be on the donor list online, I went to www.marrow.org and joined the NMDP (National Marrow Donor Program). The process took about 15 minutes and was free of charge. The NMDP sent me a kit in the mail with swabs, I simply swabbed my cheek and sent that back so they could tissue type my DNA and put my info into their database. I got my email about 2 months later that the tissue typing had been completed and I was now active on the donor list. Simple, painless and free.
PS. Andy had received a transplant of his own stem cells previously harvested in the interim in hopes to get healthy enough for a bone marrow transplant from a donor. You can read about Andy’s story on Roswell’s carepages. Even though he was my cousin’s cousin, growing up his family was always present at birthday parties for our mutual cousins at Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob’s house. I have fond memories of all of them and stay in touch with some of Andy’s “siblicousins” via facebook.