It’s time for us to have a serious conversation.
Here it goes.
If you have a healthy body, and if you’re between the ages of 18 to 60, you have both the priviledge and responsibility to donate bone marrow.
Even before Jonathan found out he had cancer, I was a strong believer in donating blood on a regular basis. Then, just a few years ago, I also registered to become a bone marrow donor.
And now that we’re looking cancer in the face, I’m more than just a casual advocate for joining the National Bone Marrow Registry. I’m a 100%, look you in the eye believer who is not really interested in the reasons why you
can’t won’t join too. Trust me, I know the excuses and they are lame. (And, I might add, your excuses are probably assumptions that aren’t even accurate. Here are a few myths and facts about a bone marrow donation.)
You never know when someone close to you is going to be diagnosed with a blood cancer. It could be your husband, your son, your brother. It could be your grandpa. It could be your precious infant. It could be your boss, a best friend, a neighbor. It could be a total stranger living in Iowa who just happens to share your exact bone marrow type.
If you are reading this blog, you are now connected to someone affected by a blood cancer. Yup. It happens.
Fortunately, at this time Jonathan does not need a bone marrow transplant. We hope and believe he never will. But, you know what? Should his cancer return, he’d be a candidate. What if he needs a transplant and no one is a match?
And what about all the people who are on a big long list right now, who are getting needles jabbed in their veins each week, and throwing up in the middle of the night, and fearing death because they don’t have a match?
The process to sign up is simple. You just have to request a kit by mail, take a cheek swab, fill out a form or two, and wait. You will likely never get called. But if you should get called, you’d save a life with no monetary cost and very little physical pain to your body. You could even save more than one life!
If you are watching Jonathan’s story unfold, and if you’ve asked yourself, “What can I do to help?” and if you’ve been rocked by the fact that cancer can happen to ANYONE…then you need to step up. Join Be the Match. Leave me a comment with a pledge to do it. Tell your friends to join you.
And, if you are having children, consider donating their cord blood. Just think- a precious newborn could save a life just as their own is starting! (We looked into cord blood donation when Anna was born, but our hospital didn’t participate. I now very much regret not pushing to find a way to bank or donate her cord blood. If we are blessed with more children, we may consider banking their cord blood due to Jonathan’s increased risk.)
So, what are you waiting for? I mean, really, what an honor to give someone years they might never have! I hope I get chosen someday. I hope I can give that gift.
Here are the medical guidelines/eligibility.