Modern medicine is absolutely amazing. I just swabbed four sterile Q-tips against the inside of my cheeks, put them in a postage paid envelope and sent them off to the National Bone Marrow Registry. I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but I have been afraid. I’ve even been a little reluctant to give blood since having kids. Now that I have two little humans I need to take care of and make sure I am alive for, I have hesitated to do things like this that might compromise that commitment to my children in the name of helping a stranger. I don’t know if anyone else has had that feeling, or if it makes any sense. It’s not like giving blood or just getting on the donor registry in any way compromises my health or ability to care for my family. If I was found to be a match, yes, there would be some risk involved as there is with any anesthesia. Life is full of risks. Why not take a small risk that will benefit others? Or on the other hand, why take any risk that could even possibly adversely affect me and in turn my children? These are the irrational, self-absorbed thoughts that go through my head when deciding if I want to do something like join the bone marrow registry.
In the long run, I’m going for it. I’m swabbing and I’m waiting. I’ll be on the list until I’m in my sixties and should the call come that a match has been made, I will give. The last push for me was watching a friend (on Facebook, from High School) go through a diagnosis of MDS and a transplant from donor cord blood. When I had my babies, I knew that you could decide to bank the cord blood for your own children at a price for use at a later date if needed, but I didn’t really look into it. No one had ever mentioned donating the cord blood. I could almost cry just thinking about all of that precious blood just thrown away when someone could have benefitted from it. So I’m writing directly to you. If you’re not planning to bank the cord blood for your own family, consider donating it to another family in need. Whether you donate or not, think about telling just one more person you know about this option. For some person out there, all it takes is that one perfect match.
It’s been absolutely inspiring to see friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers band together to help my old friend beat this. I have no idea what medical costs she has had to take on, but I do know that her supporters helped raised the amount of money she anticipated needing for housing away from her family during her treatment. People are just amazing.