ASM Global Grand Rapids Sales Manager Donates Stem Cells
On January 25, 2021, I had the opportunity to donate stem cells for a 9-year-old boy with lymphoma. It was an extraordinary experience, and I am so honored that I was able to offer him this potentially life-saving gift. I likely won’t know the outcome for some time, but I can imagine the hope that he and his family are feeling right now.
As a college student, I joined the Be The Match® registry during a donor drive on campus. Twenty-two years later I had pretty much given up hope of ever being matched with a patient. When I received the call on October 27, 2020, I was so surprised and thrilled! Being asked to play a role in saving someone’s life felt overwhelming, scary, and exciting all at the same time. The fact that my nephew battled lymphoma when he was 8 years old made it feel incredibly personal and I was in tears when I first spoke with my donation coordinator.
For five days leading up to the donation, I received shots that would increase my stem cell production. These caused me some bone pain and fatigue as my body got to work overproducing stem cells. The morning of the donation, I was anxious about the process and nervous about how long I would have to be sitting still. The process can take up to eight hours and I’m not good at being still! The shots did their job, though, because my stem cell count was high and my donation took less than three hours. Everything went very smoothly and the staff members at the donation site were skilled and caring.
The pandemic added an additional level of caution and anxiety to the overall donation experience, as I did not want to jeopardize the procedure or unnecessarily postpone it. Navigating holiday gatherings, birthdays, etc. was challenging and stressful, but it was all worth it.This was a life changing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Joining the Be The Match Registry® means volunteering to be listed as a potential blood stem cell donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant. You could be someone’s cure. You could literally save a life.