Have you ever dreamed of being a hero and saving the life of someone else? It might be easier than you think! By joining the Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry, you could be that hero for someone who has a potentially fatal diagnosis like leukemia (blood cancer) or sickle cell anemia. Bone marrow transplants may be the best—or only—treatment option for these people, but 70% of people who need bone marrow don’t “match” with their family members and need to rely on the help of others. This is why joining the Be the Match registry is so important—you may be that one in a million “match” who can help a person in desperate need!
I joined the Be the Match Registry in college because of a bone marrow registry drive hosted by one of my Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters, who was looking to help a local child in need. While I wasn’t the match for that particular child, a couple years later, I received a call from Be the Match that someone needed my help. This is why hosting a bone marrow registration drive—or volunteering at one—is such an amazing thing to do, because it can end up helping so many people! You can check out local opportunities to get involved at this website, and contact Be the Match directly to volunteer.
The bone marrow donation process was not difficult! It began with an initial information session to ensure that I fully understood the medical implications and gave my informed consent. There were a few blood tests I had to do to make sure I was healthy enough to donate. Then it was the actual donation day! I donated peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) in a very cool way—through a centrifuge. Basically, I sat in a hospital bed for about 4–5 hours, with a catheter in each of my arms. One catheter took out my blood and sent it into this centrifuge machine, which filtered out the PBSC that the patient needed and then returned the rest of my blood through my other arm! That’s pretty cool! It didn’t hurt, I didn’t feel sick during or afterward, and it felt awesome to know I was able to give someone else hope for the future.
Here’s a great video of another bone marrow donor, describing the process for him:
And the Be the Match website has a bunch of other videos where donors share their experiences!
Thank you, Be the Match and all of the people who register and volunteer, for making the world a better place!