It has been 13 years today that my brother died. I can't believe 13 years have passed so quickly. A lot of my memories from that time are hazy, but others are very clear. It has also been 13 years since Mark suggested we go to a bone marrow drive and add our names to the national registry. Since no one in my family was a match for my brother, Chad, his doctors had to go to the National Bone Marrow Registry to find a donor. Some anonymous and very generous person donated marrow for him. Unfortunately his transplant was not successful, but I always hoped that I would get a chance someday to donate.
Well, 13 years to the day that my brother died, I got a confirmatory phone call from the National Bone Marrow Registry that I will be donating bone marrow for a 54 year old woman with AML, a form of leukemia. I cannot express how intensely privileged I feel to be a match for this woman. I received an email several weeks ago letting me know that I was a potential donor. I contacted the donation center quickly and went to Maryland to donate more blood for testing. At that time I was a 5 out of 6 match and they told me they were testing between 2 and 10 other potential donors. Last week while we were at the National Zoo, I received a call letting me know that it was down to me and one other potential donor and that they would call me this week, on Monday or Tuesday.
I hadn't heard anything and was going to email my contact at the National Institutes of Health today, but then I got a call late this afternoon. October is such a difficult month for our family. We lost both my brother and my dad in this month, so to get a call asking me to donate marrow to possibly save this woman's life is humbling and a blessing and it makes the month a lot more hopeful. The next step is scheduling a physical exam, probably sometime next week. I'll have to drive to Maryland for this. Then if my health is good enough, I'll be having the surgery sometime at the end of the month, possibly October 30th. I will have to stay overnight at the hospital, but shouldn't have any difficulties besides being a little sore.
I think it is truly amazing how God works. I never dreamed that I would have this opportunity and I feel really blessed by it. My prayer is for this woman and her family to have peace during this process and that the transplant will be successful.
Joining the registry is really easy these days. I encourage you to go visit the site. They need donors, especially minorities.