Wilbur’s marrow donation experience

Posted October 7th, 2009 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories
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Wilbur donated bone marrow through the National Marrow Donor Program, which operates the Be The Match RegistrySM. This is his story.

The opportunity to pay back
My wife works for the post office, and this was how we became involved. (Editor’s note: The United States Postal Service’s long partnership with Be The Match has added more than 47,000 donors to the marrow registry.)

But the reason for my donation goes back to before I was born. It hit me like a brick wall when I got the call to possibly be a bone
marrow donor:

I’ve finally found a way to repay the person who not only
gave me life, but also saved my life very early on.

My mother’s choice
While pregnant with me, my mother was told she had developed a form of cancer. The doctor told her she could treat the cancer but the baby wouldn’t live through the treatment, or she could bring the baby to full term but she would die because the cancer would be too far along. Without pause, my mother decided the baby would live.

As it turned out, the doctor was wrong and my mother didn’t have cancer. Had she decided to have the treatment, I wouldn’t have been born. Service to others, putting them first before her own needs — that’s how my mother, Mary E. Baughn, lived her life. (After 74 years and two bouts with cancer, Mary passed from this life to her heavenly reward.)

My choice
Second thoughts about doing this? Never entered my mind!

I hate needles and my family knew this. They all wondered how I would go through the “pincushion” phase.

Well, it wasn’t that bad. I really never had a lot of pain, even after the marrow collection procedure.

Everyone I talked to at the National Marrow Donor Program, especially my contact person Cindy Hofkes, made me feel like I was the only person they were dealing with. The donation procedure at Miami Valley was a breeze, thanks to all the wonderful people there.

Only a few people get a chance to possibly save a life. Sign up! Be a match!

4 Responses to “Wilbur’s marrow donation experience”

  1. Kelly Williamson says:

    Thank you, Wilbur. Ten years ago a wonderful man, such as yourself, saved my then 29-year-old sister from her recurring cancer. I am now on the donor registry, and hope that I may return the favor some day. She is free of cancer today because of a stranger’s selfless act of kindness.
    Big hugs to you and your family!!!

    • Diego says:

      Kel,I hope there is a match out there for her. I am registered on the list and deantod peripheral stem cells to a man in Germany about 2 yrs ago. He had even held on for 2 yrs to get my donation due to my pregnancy. He went into full remission. Good luck!! Thinking of you and your family. xx

  2. Rita Brinegar says:

    Bless you Wilbur…my 11 year old daughter needed a bone marrow transplant in 08 for a rare form of Leukemia, and she is doing well today…she had cord blood, but no less what you have done for someone…thank you for being there…God will bless you forever for being such a giving and caring person…much love and prayers to you!! Rita

  3. Rosalind Chin-Wing says:

    My daughter and I signed up about a year and a half ago and just the thought of being able to some day help another person has given me great joy. You see, my husband and I tried for seventeen years to have another baby and eighteen years ago that ‘baby’ came and to this day, so far, he is a healthy boy who just started college. We are eternally grateful that our son was born healthy and I feel honored just to be part of the Bone Marrow Donation program.

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