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  #1  
Old Sun May 1, 2011, 05:19 PM
bitsNbobs bitsNbobs is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Buckeye AZ
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February 15, 2007

Over two decades ago, I had a dear friend who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. It prompted me to get registered in the National Bone Marrow Donors Registry. I was a healthy, energetic woman in her 20's at the time, why not?!

In January 2006, I was contacted by the registry and told that I was a perfect match for someone in need. "Wow!" I thought, "This is fantastic." To be honest, I never thought I would be a match for anyone -- the chances are so great, it's like winning the lottery! I went in immediately and was told that my marrow was for a little boy about three years of age who was suffering from a myelodysplastic syndrome. I was also told that even though I was a perfect match, there was another "almost perfect" match from a male doner that they were going to consider before mine and that I would not know if I would be the donor for a few more weeks.

I was a little shocked that gender played any role in marrow donation. Most of the people I had known over the years who had received transplants had received them from the opposite sex, with no ill affects. My friend Bob had received his transplant from a woman and he did not grow breasts or lose his mustache as a result of the transplant. To this day, he beat his leukemia and is alive and well and living large in Virginia.

A few weeks later, I was informed that they were going to take the male donor's marrow. They thanked me for my time and effort and told me they would only be in touch if the transplant failed.

An entire year went by and then out of the blue, I was contacted by the registry. The "almost perfect" match from the male donor had failed. There was no time to waste and they needed me in for testing ASAP. The very next day, I was giving blood and jumping through hoops in order to donate. Within a week and a half, on February 15, 2007, I was on the operating table and giving my marrow for this little boy, who by this time I estimated was only around four, maybe five years of age. The thought of saving a life, especially that of a child, was just such an honor to me.

I had heard all kinds of stories about donating marrow. Especially how painful it is and how miserable I was going to feel afterward. Well, let me tell you, I experienced none of that. I had the most amazing doctor at the transplant center in Phoenix. I awoke with no ill feelings and when I got up from the bed, I had no pain at the incision sites on the back of my hips. I never needed any of the pain meds they prescribed to me. I gave myself one day to rest and I was back at work on the second day! My incision sites were two tiny knicks in the skin and today, I cannot even find them.

I'm not sure if the little boy lived sinced the local marrow donor organization will not share information between parties. I like to think he made it. I sent a prayer with that marrow to help heal the little guy. I told my marrow to hold strong and do its job. I would like to think that angels helped deliver my marrow and its message to my little recipient.

I just want to tell everyone out there that has a chance to donate: DO IT. It's a wonderful, positive thing that you won't ever regret. An absolute honor! Don't be scared. You were chosen for a reason and someone's life depends on you. Go for it and good luck!

Last edited by bitsNbobs : Fri May 6, 2011 at 12:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old Sun May 1, 2011, 10:08 PM
evansmom evansmom is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Your post brought tears to my eyes. My son was 10 at the time of his bone marrow transplant. His life was saved by an unrelated donor in June of 2008. After 2 years, we were able to learn his identity and he is no longer a beautiful stranger to us.

I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your selfless act and I do hope the little guy is doing well today. I hope one day that I will be called upon to help someone in need of my marrow. I would be ever so honoured.
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Nicole, mom to Evan (20); diagnosed SAA November 2007, hATG mid-November 2007, no response after 6 months, unrelated 9/10 BMT June 2008, no GVH, health completely restored thanks to our beloved donor Bryan from Tennessee.

www.caringbridge.org/visit/evanmacneil
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  #3  
Old Mon May 2, 2011, 08:57 PM
Mary4Mike Mary4Mike is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 68
Your post brought tears to my eyes, too. You received a gift that day along with the child. The chance to save another persons life is a gift.

When you have a related donor, you can thank them for the rest of your life. To the unrelated donor and recipient, we can only send prayers. When they called you, two lives were changed forever.

Thank you for sharing.

Mary

Yes, I am on the donor registry!
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Mary, wife of Mike age 70; diagnosed MDS RARS 1999. Tried Vidaza, Revlimid, and Dacogen. SCT 10/1/09 at U of MI; induction FluBu2; sister perfect match donor. 5 years out, little to no GVHD. Off all meds. God is good
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  #4  
Old Tue May 3, 2011, 01:58 AM
Ruth Cuadra Ruth Cuadra is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 612
I am the third person with tears in their eyes. The woman who donated the bone marrow that saved me tells a story of her donation experience that is very similar to yours.

I told my story this past Saturday at the Hope, Steps & A Cure Walk in Los Angeles. Thirty-nine people who were there to support our cause volunteered to be donors. I'd like to think that 39 more people will be saved, but even if only one of the those new registrants turns out to be a match for a patient somewhere in the world, I'll feel that I've paid back a little bit of the goodness that came my way in 1998.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Ruth
Dx AA 10/96, MDS 6/98, MUD/BMT 10/6/98
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Diagnosed AA 10/96, MDS/RA 6/98, MUD/BMT 10/6/98
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  #5  
Old Tue May 3, 2011, 02:39 AM
Jen B Jen B is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Glendale California
Posts: 42
I was just asked 2 weeks ago what my thoughts were about donating marrow. She was latina, and the man that needed her help was a 46 year old male. What an honor! I told her - I dream of the day I get to give back. My son was 4 when he got his transplant from an unrelated donor. This November we hope this man will want to "meet" us and see what his gift did for my baby.

This lady who asked me knows our story and surely was just looking for information. Now I can forward your experience to her and encourage her from the donor side.
Thank you so much for your story!
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Mother of Ethan, diagnosed with SAA at age 3-1/2 Dec. 2008; Treated with ATG(h) Dec 2008 and ongoing Cyclosporine. MUD BMT 11/10/2009, 10/10 match
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  #6  
Old Wed May 4, 2011, 09:27 AM
Neel Neel is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: delhi india
Posts: 73
world needs people like u

Hi,

The world needs ppl like u. Maybe the world is spining cos ppl like u r there. Selfless and ever present for others.

God Bless u

regrds,

Neel
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Father age 64 diagnosed with MDS RAEB-2, with 15%-18% blasts in October 2010. Only had blood and platelet transfusions. Ayurvedic treatment which showed result for arnd 5 months. Started Tahlidomide 100 mg started on 22 nd April 2011. Revolade 50 mg started on 2 nd april 2012.
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  #7  
Old Wed May 4, 2011, 12:44 PM
ljensen3 ljensen3 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
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Thank you for your generosity in donating. My 7 yo son, Andrew was just diagnosed with MAA on 4/13/11. There is so many questions that I have. I am hoping to find some help, answers, and encouragment from people on here. When Andrew was 3 the doctor started giving him an iron supplement (which was awfully hard to get him to drink 1tbs twice a day. It tasted so bad!) In 2008 he was diagnosed with Macrocytic Anemia which means that his rbc's were larger than normal even when his iron was low. He has been going to a hematologist/oncologist at Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mi every 6 months since then. Last October he had his first BMB done. At his last labs/physical appt. there, his labs changed. Now he is diagnosed with MAA. He will be having another BMB this October. It seems like such an awful lot for a child to go through. We are at the watch and wait stages which is so hard as a parent, as many of you may know. He is also now being referred over to U of M, so maybe they will give me a little more insight. If anyone has a child who is going or gone through this in MI, please let me know. Also if there is anyone who has info on the Children's Special Health Care Services, I would appreciate it very much. Please keep Andrew in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you
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Leanne, mother of Andrew age 7; diagnosed with AA 4/11
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  #8  
Old Thu May 5, 2011, 05:40 PM
mscrzy1 mscrzy1 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: California
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Thank you!!!!!!!! Somehow those two words don't even seem to cover it !!! You gave that precious child and family the most amazing gift. Thank you!!!!!
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Angie

36 yr. old, dx SAA in Jan 1996, treated with ATG in Mar. 1996, off cyclosporine Sept. 1996, last blood transfusion in Aug. 1997, slow decline in counts again November 2010, AA and current count decline thought to be caused by lupus, currently taking 400mg Plaquinil
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