Saturday, June 22, 2013

Be The Match

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this blog.

Her second child needed a bone marrow transplant, and at the time I read this post, the little boy's donor had backed out.  There was literally nothing for them to do except a) wait for an international donor; b) wait for someone to register who may be a match (very unlikely); or c) wait for the situation to become so dire that they have to do a type of transplant called a haplo transplant, in which a non-matching parent donates, making it usually not as successful than a typical transplant.

Now, as someone who spends her days wondering whether peaches or melons have more nutritional value, whether a short-sleeved shirt or a sleeveless shirt would keep the boys more comfortable, and/or whether I should switch to an all-natural sunscreen- very minute details of my children's comfort and well-being-, and I cannot even begin to fathom how difficult it would be not to have any control over such life-or-death issues.  As a parent, every kid is our kid.

Immediately after reading this post, I thought, "What if I am the match for this little boy?" "What if I am the match for someone else's mother/father/sister/son/daughter-in-law/nephew/friend/etc, and I'm not registered?"

That same day, I registered as a bone marrow donor at

I have to back up and say that my husband registered in college (free t-shirt).  He was called as a match during his first day back to work after Carter was born, sometime in late August 2012, which means he was on the registry for approximately 15 years before he received a call.

The Be The Match staff was extremely prompt and helpful in communicating with him and noted that if he didn't want to continue, he needed to say so now. We researched what he would need to do as a donor and learned about the two methods of donation.

He decided to continue.

They wanted him to do additional blood tests, which he did. The follow-up information from the Be The Match staff indicated that the recipient wasn't able to continue with the transplant, which could mean any one of a number of things.  That was all the information we received, so we chose to hope for the best for this person.  I was (and am) so proud of Frank for choosing to give a stranger a second chance at life.  But with an itsy-bitsy baby, I kind of put this info on the back burner... until I read that post.

So a few weeks ago, I received the cheek-swab kit.

It's very easy.  You take four q-tip type swabs from your cheek and mail them back, postage-paid.

Processing takes approximately 8 weeks, and I am in the middle of that stage.  Even if I don't match right away, at least I will know I have done my part.

The good news is that Will, the little boy whose mom's post prompted my registering, found a match through an international donor.  His fight isn't over, but at least this first important step has been taken.

If you would like to follow Will's story, you can do so here.  In the meantime, I will wait and hope that things work out if I'm called.

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