Barbara’s donation story

Posted September 3rd, 2009 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories
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I decided to join the registry after several of my family and friends were diagnosed with various cancers. Unfortunately, several of them passed away.

My son’s preschool was hosting a donor drive to try to find a match for the father of a student at his school. I decided that since it would be so convenient to join at a drive that I would finally do it. So in November of 2007 I joined.

In December, I received a phone call telling me that I was an “initial” match for a 3-year-old little boy. I hadn’t even received my donor card yet – it came a week later!

In January of 2008, my own son become very ill. He spent a week in the hospital. While we were waiting for him to be discharged I received the call stating that I was “the” match.

I was given the opportunity to say no, given the medical circumstances that my family was dealing with. I could not say no. I almost lost my son. I couldn’t imagine not helping this other little boy or his family.

So I spent the next month getting a physical and pre-donating my own blood. My mother flew up from Florida to help take care of my son while I was laid up for a few days.

In February 2008, I donated 1200 ccs of bone marrow. That same day, a little boy suffering from Wiscott Aldrich syndrome received my bone marrow.

I spent the next year waiting for each of the updates and being so happy to know that he was doing well.

In March of this year, I learned his name. I got the letter the day my son came home from another hospital visit. I cried so hard – what were the chances that my son’s name and my recipient’s name would be pronounced the same? It is not a common name no matter how you spell it. Definitely meant to be. (Editor’s note: To protect the recipient’s privacy, we cannot share the recipient’s name.)

My recipient will be starting school in the fall – something his family never thought he would do. His mother and I talk every few months and we are looking forward to meeting in the future.

I would be honored to donate again if I were asked. I encourage everyone to join the registry if you are able. It is a life-changing experience to know that you have helped someone.

12 Responses to “Barbara’s donation story”

  1. Paulette says:

    Awesome !! God Bless !!! I am a donor and
    I pray that I will be able to help someone
    like you have. Your a Blessing ..

  2. Ginny says:

    That’s very cool! I hope I can help someone someday also. God Bless!

  3. Maria Edie says:

    What a beautiful and moving story! I am a donor as well and hope that I will be selected one day. God bless you.

  4. Scott says:

    I too am a donor yet to be called but your story makes me glad I am availabe if I become a match. Hope your little boy is doing well.

  5. Xiomara Rojas says:

    what a beautiful gift you gave that little boy Im a donor too and I hope someday I can help somebody. My daughter had leukemia and she was a donor recipient but unfortunatly she past away april 2008 but I always be grateful with those peaple like you that can help to save a life God bless you always.

  6. Dora says:

    That is truly a moving story. Does the heart good to know there are selfless people out in the world.

  7. Anna Marsicano says:

    God bless you and the two boys in your life. I’m on the registry and hope I can save a life one day!

  8. Jennifer Sanchez says:

    God bless you! In January my brother received a bone marrow transplant thanks to the kindness and generosity of a stranger. We are so thankful to the donor. Words cannot express my brother’s or the families gratitude to this person. I am on the registry and hope that I will be called.

  9. Tracy says:

    This story is very touching. How selfless of you to give so much and in a time when your child was medically fragile.
    I decided to become a member three years ago when a friend from high school’s mother became very ill. She sent out an email to everyone she knew with information on registering for Be The Match during the free registration period — it was too easy to say no. I am so glad I made this decision and I too hope I can make a difference in someone’s life.
    Best Wishes to you and your family.

  10. mel says:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes, Barb. You are amazing. <3

  11. Lila Brooks Fritz says:

    My 25 year-old son Robby was diagnosed with aplastic anemia December of 2007. For our Christmas present in 2008 he received a bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore from a woman that we are eternally grateful to even though we know very little about her except that what she told us in a letter that we received several months after our son died from complications from the bone marrow transplant and several viruses that he just could not fight off. Since I could not be Robby’s match I signed up to be a donor right away for someone else. We know that Robby no longer suffers and is enjoying the wonderful after life in Heaven. Even though his bone marrow transplant wasn’t the sucess we had prayed for it was still the only chance he had at a normal life and we have no regrets to have taken that chance. I wait patiently and hope that someday I will be called to be a bone marrow match and save someone’s life or at least give them hope.

  12. Kristina R. says:

    Barb, I am so proud to have you for a friend. I hope many of you reading this will consider going to and making the same life-changing decision that Barb has so graciously shared with us.

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