My Son Donated Stem Cells: Here's Why You Should, Too by Dawn Taylor
A few months ago, my son, a college junior, informed me that he had joined a registry as a potential stem cell or bone marrow donor, and had been contacted as a "strong potential match" for someone with leukemia. It was a lot to take in, as this was all new to me. When had he signed up? He was attending college, having fun, hanging out at parties and I needed to know all of the details.
The previous spring semester, the head football coach, himself a cancer warrior, was holding a donor drive for Be the Match, and my son and some of his friends had heard it was happening on campus and decided to check things out. Once there, they all lined up, provided a cheek swab and went on their way, probably not giving it too much thought amidst college parties and late-night study sessions.
Now, almost a year later, an urgent email had arrived and he was informed he was an early match and that they needed to know if he was committed to donating, either stem cells (apheresis) or bone marrow.
After further testing, he was found to be a perfect match, which then led to blood work to make sure he was healthy, and when he was clear physically, he was given injections for days leading up the apheresis procedure. All told it took up about 20 hours of his time. He complained and was stressed at times when we had to travel, but it all occured during his final weeks of his academic semester. The procedure itself went well, but left him tired and a little sore for days afterwards. But, he never wavered.
His decision led me to also join the registry. And like him, I would donate in a heartbeat.
To learn more about becoming a donor, become part of a life-saving process and become an everyday hero like my son, go to BeTheMatch.org.
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