Matchmaker, matchmaker

Make me a match…

More than ever before, I’ve really thought about all I am thankful for this year. Obviously a healthy baby tops the list. She has added a new dimension to my life, and after several years of contemplation about whether I wanted kids, I’m thankful I took the plunge and we were able to bring little Sloan Kelly into this world.

A couple days before Thanksgiving I got a phone call that could possibly change my life and more importantly could save a life. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 and would end up needing a bone marrow transplant. At the time we felt hopeful because he had three sisters, siblings being the best opportunity for a match since they share your dna. Unfortunately, a sibling match still only happens about 30% of the time. This is where the National Bone Marrow Registry steps in and facilitates finding an unrelated donor. Joining the registry is super easy, just a cheek swab with a big q-tip and you’re done. {Haven’t joined? Go to now!} My family and friends really campaigned over the years to add as many people to the registry as possible. We found out my dad has a peculiar “typing” and this made finding a donor difficult. Lucky for us, there is also an international registry which is where my dad ended up finding his donor match. His life saving donor. Because someone on another continent made the choice to do that cheek swab, my dad is still here today, and for that I am thankful. He is able to celebrate the holidays with us and able to know his granddaughter. It is a big freakin deal to me and to my family.

So my story is that Be the Match called me on Monday. I am a preliminary match for someone else out there fighting for their life and in search of an unrelated donor. It has been very emotional for me thinking that I would possibly have the opportunity to say thank you in the biggest way. It is a bit of a process and I don’t know anything for sure yet, but I am hopeful.

Joining this registry is a commitment. A commitment that when that phone call comes you are willing to essentially be a true hero. My dad had two potential donor matches, but the first person that was contacted backed out. Please do not put yourself on this registry if you are not committed to following through. Being a donor these days means that you are hooked up to a machine as if you are giving blood. That’s it! No big needles in your spine for a total stranger. {Full disclosure…that is still a possibility but rare.} Thank you modern medicine and stem cell research. My sister explains the process more on her blog HERE.

Leukemia and other blood cancers cannot be surgically removed like tumors. Some types are very aggressive and surviving them is a miracle, and often not an option without a bone marrow transplant. So if you’re thinking about giving back this season, help raise awareness for these diseases and for this registry!

2 thoughts on “Matchmaker, matchmaker

  1. I’ve followed you forever, like since life is reediculous, but never commented. I actually signed up in 2009 too and got a call in late September that I was a match. I donated on nov 17th! The injections were pretty yuck, but so worth it to potentially save a life.

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