“You Made a Choice that Many People Don’t Make.” Parent’s Personal Thank You to Donor

Posted September 26th, 2012 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, Patient Stories
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Hi, John.

Her name is Clara Violet Boyle.  She is very much alive and is a thriving 2 year old.  I imagine that’s the answer to your biggest question. And I have no idea how to thank you or how to really begin the conversation with you.

I’ve been waiting a long time to be allowed to contact you.  But I also haven’t known what I wanted to say to you or what you’d want to know or say to us.  It’s kind of impossible to truly express our gratitude, and I also do not know what you have thought about how this moment would go.

At Clara’s 1 year anniversary of what we call her “Butterfly Re-birthday,” I began preparing myself for making contact with you.  You beat us to the punch – and I was thrilled to hear that you had shared your contact info with the NMDP.  That was 4 months ago.  It took me about a month to get our signed consent to the hospital where Clara was treated and 3 months for us to finally get your info from the NMDP.  We got your name and contact details today.  I immediately Googled your name.

Here is what I think you might like to know:
•Clara was born on April 14, 2010.
•You registered with the NMDP on May 1st when Clara was 17 days old.
•She was 4 months old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
•The specific form of her leukemia was high risk and, because of the infection that the NMDP apparently told you about, her chances for survival were so slim, you couldn’t calculate it.
•You were a PERFECT match for her.  A 10 out of 10 and a match for ALL of the other less important indicators including down to blood type.
•Your donation was 3.5-4.5 times more than required, and they used it all on January 12, 2011.
•Your stem cells engrafted so quickly that they didn’t tell us initially for fear of getting our hopes up, and we were discharged from the hospital a month after transplant day.  It is usually 100+ days and her hospital has never discharged someone that early.

There is a lot more that I could tell you.  But I will begin to close this letter like this:
Your blood is clearly running through my daughter’s veins.  She LOVES football.
When I told one of Clara’s nurses that we got your contact info today, she asked me to thank you on behalf of all the nurses who cared for her.  Clara was a favorite on the unit – and there aren’t many good outcomes in the cancer unit.

You made a choice that many people don’t make.  And your choice and your self-sacrifice and your prayers saved our daughter’s life.

I am grateful that your roommate and coach were able to publicly express the inspiration that you were to them.  I am grateful to your 50 classmates who wrote you letters of thanks.  I wish I could have been there for your speech at the Cortland youth football banquet.  I look forward to hearing your story.  I hope that you can feel comfortable telling us your story – if that is something you’d like to do.  I am happy to tell you anything and everything you’d like to know about Clara.

I’d also like to invite you to read my blog.  It is almost entirely about her treatment and recovery.  And it’s a lot to read.  But it’s yours to read or not. http://brookebabble.blogspot.com

With much love and respect for you,
Brooke, Clara’s mom
Alan, Clara’s dad
Rosalyn, Clara’s 8 month old little sister


30 Responses to ““You Made a Choice that Many People Don’t Make.” Parent’s Personal Thank You to Donor”

  1. Staci says:

    What an absolutely amazing letter. I have tears running down my face. This makes me even happier that I am a registered donor.

  2. Mike says:

    What a beauitful letter. This is a cause I strongly believe in & is why I became a donor myself over two years ago. I hope that one day I can help someone in need. A very touching story & I’m so happy that everyone is doing great! All the best!

  3. Julia says:

    John, what a self-less act and gift!!! You gave a beautiful baby girl a chance at a normal happy life, and you gave her parents the greatest gift anyone could ever give…their daughter’s life.

    Clara’s Mom & Dad, this is such an inspirational letter and story, and I’m so happy for you and your family.

    Little Clara, may God bless you and what a BEAUTIFUL little girl you are!!! Your baby sister Rosalyn is so lucky to have a big sister like you!

    I have been a registered donor for over 15 years and always hope I could help someone. Maybe someday I will be able to give that gift to someone.

  4. salwa says:

    This is such a moving story, and a perfect example for the impact that organ donation can have on the lives and futures of whole families. The decision to join the registry, for me, didn’t require much thought.I do, however, always like to remind myself that I am not giving the gift of life…I’m just sharing the gift that I have been given.

  5. Jenna Glatzer says:

    Just beautiful! Thank you, John, for saving this little girl’s life.

  6. Letisia "Letie" Romero says:

    I commend you John for giving of yourself unselfishly. I commend Johns parents for raising such a person willing to give to someone he does not know. I don’t know if you believe in destiny or maybe in purpose but you bave definetly fulfilled one of them, Clara is living proof of that. I too hope one day I’m able to do the same as you have and make a difference not only in one persons life but in their families and even in the world because you made a choice, you helped save Clara, because you saved Clara you changed her parents lives, because you changed their lives I’m sure they’ll pay it foward and usually when people pay it foward we all benefit, besides you may have help saved the one who discovers a cure, makes it to mars or even th white house so THANK YOU because her smile has definetly brighten my day.

  7. Ken Kikkert says:

    I joined Be The Match some time ago for probably the same reason that John and all the other members did, TO SAVE LIVES. I was touched deeply by this, and all the other stories I’ve read regarding this wonderful organization. Please lets get the word out to every person we know to Be The Match. Thanks for listening.

  8. David Hinojosa says:

    It was a very touching letter, thankfully John became a donor at the right time, and was a perfect match Clara. I became a donor in 1995, and donated bone marrow to a 14 yr old girl in 1997.

  9. Vicki says:

    A perfect match! What are the chances of that? John is a hero! An angel! An example and mentor for us all… Giving life via selfless acts of love. Bless the lives of both John and Clara! They have only just begun. More miracles are sure to follow…

  10. Paul Stephens says:

    We are extremely proud of our son. We have been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children. The emotions we felt when we finally found out about Clara were overwhelming. As i write this the Boyle family has landed safely in Newark and are in route to Cortland NY. Tomorrow morning at 9am little Clara will meet her hero John in front of family and media at SUNY Cortland. The Boyles and Stephens family will participate in the coin toss for the Cortland / Brockport football game and John will present Clara with her own Cortland jersey #34 with STEPHENS on the back during a celebration at the 50 yard line during halftime. It will be an unbelievable weekend.

  11. Vicki L says:

    I joined the registry in February 2010 and my sister was diagnosed with acute myloid leukemia in July of 2011. It was a huge disappointment when Stanford University called to let my sister know that I was not a match. My sister is in remission, but Stanford wanted to find a match for her. In June of 2012, my sister got the call that they had found a match for her IF she ever needs it! I really hope that I will be a match some day!

  12. Własny Dom says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you actually understand what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my website =). We could have a link exchange arrangement among us

  13. Darcy says:

    Link to Cortland Newspaper Article: http://www.cortlandstandard.net/story001.html

  14. Mary says:

    I turned 60 in June and – sadly – became ineligible to be a donor. However, stories like this give me a boost and I wish nothing but success to all donors and recipients.

    • admin says:

      Hi Mary, thank you for your comment and support!

      • Sharon Hanson says:

        Mary, Just because you can no longer donate, doesn’t mean you can’t help! There is a huge need for volunteers to help with donor drives and other office duties. There are links to volunteer opportunities at http://www.bethematch.org.

  15. Robin from Orlando says:

    John, that you so much for your gift. Many of us are registered to be organ donors, and we will never know if we ever save a life. You got the blessing of knowing you gave a little girl another chance, and her parents hope. You then got the double blessing of knowing your gift of life has saved Clara’s life.

    I have followed the journey of people who have searched for a match. Some find them, some don’t. It is heart breaking to read about someone who’s time is running out and no match has been found. It’s worse when it’s a parent, who is helpless to save their child.

    When someone registers, they could be the only one who can save a person’s life. It’s mind boggling.

  16. Doug says:

    So many great comments here. Among all the heroes to talk about, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Clara’s parents, Alan and Brooke. We’ve never met but we have something in common; I have some idea of what you have been through and what it took to get to today. Your letter is a beautiful tribute and will, I have no doubt, lead to more people joining the registry. That’s important — really important. Thanks and best wishes to you and your family.

  17. Marcella says:

    I just donated last May. Waiting anxiuosly for the 1 year to pass and praying my recepient is alive and well. Being a pefect match was a gift to me, a once in a lifetime chance to truly make a difference. I am always so happy to hear stories with such happy ending.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Amazing story. This story makes me so proud to be a SUNY Cortland alum!

  19. Allison says:

    Wow…how incredible…what a gift for all….this is what all humans should do for on e another…..it is THE RIGHT thing to do…best of luck to all of you!

  20. Sharon Hanson says:

    I am not able to be a donor because I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Instead, I have become a Volunteer Ambassador with Be The Match, and I will be conducting my first bone marrow donor registration drive on November 9. I have been inspired by a little girl in my life, and with donors like John, her outcome will be just as bright! Thank you John, for making the decision to register, and then following through when called! Thank you Brooke, for your heartfelt letter sharing Clara’s health and success! And thank YOU! Yes, YOU, the one reading this… whether you register, donate financially, or volunteer your time. Together, we CAN make a difference!♥

  21. Jennifer Holder says:

    Love this story!!!! I have been on the donor list since 1998 or 1999. I never have been called but if i ever am i will be there for that person.

  22. John Halverson says:

    Hi John,
    My name is John too and today is the 100 day mark since I received my stem cell transplant. Clara and are probably about as different as we could be. I’m 52 years old, 6’6″ and weigh around 225. And I promise she is much cuter than I am. But Clara, her family, me and my family are also very much alike in that we can never truly convey our appreciation and admiration that there are people like you and my donor walking among us. I won’t be able to contact my donor for another 9 months, but I do know he is a 26 year old male in the US. So I have decided he is Thor from the Avengers. Maybe you’re Captain America. Doesn’t matter who you are. You’re a super hero. Thank you so much for the kind of young man you are and thank your family for raising such a fine young man. Also, thanks to Clara and her family for sharing their story. We’re all joined in a way that folks outside our situation will never quite understand. But it helps buoy my spirits at times I need and makes me smile through my glassy eyes to see Clara’s cute face. On we go thanks to Thor and Captain America!

  23. Jeanne says:

    What an incredible young man! You are truly a hero and have inspired me to join!
    Thank you!!

  24. Debbie Shannon says:

    John Halverson,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I shared your comment on my Facebook. It really touched my heart, and the differences in you and Clara added to the beauty because there are as many different cases as there are people. That’s why we need so many people to register to increase the odds of a ‘perfect match’.
    I will be praying for your full recovery and eventual pronouncement of ‘CURED’ this next year. Best wishes during your difficult recovery period. Making Day 100 is huge!
    Clara’s ‘Mimi’ (Grandmother)

  25. Lynn Graves says:

    John – Very simply “You ROCK”!!

  26. Laura Barber says:

    Wow! I shared this link on my FB page, but the responses are what’s making me tear up at this moment.

    My wonderful husband (59 years old and in great health other than having MDS) is Day +15 from his stem cell transplant. I hope and pray our donor will feel comfortable revealing his identity in about a year, as we are so grateful to this young man who so generously entered our lives with a remarkable and unique gift! He is my husband’s 10-for-10 perfect match.

    Thank you, John, for your gracious gift of life; so happy for Clara (what a cutie!); and many thanks to Clara’s family for sharing this uplifting story!

  27. Casey P says:

    This is such an amazing story. I got the wonderful news yesterday that I am a match to a 56 year old male. I will donate right before Christmas! What a gift! God is so good. I can NOT wait to donate and can NOT wait until next year when I can possibly meet my match! I will pray for him everyday!

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