Thrilled by the Miracle That I Was Chosen as a Marrow Match!

Posted April 1st, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories
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Susan’s Donation Story

I had always been a regular blood donor. Blood and needles—the medical stuff never bothered me, and it was something easy for me to do to help others. During one of my many blood donations, one of the people who worked there casually asked me if I would consider becoming a potential bone marrow donor, by joining the Be The Match Registry®. I asked what was involved, and they told me, “just one extra tube of blood” (Editor’s Note: Be The Match® has since changed its donor registration process to be a cheek swab, rather than a blood sample).

Seventeen years after joining, I was a potential match

Now fast forward 17 years—after numerous moves and a name change through marriage, Be The Match tracked me down. I was on vacation and when I returned I found a letter in the pile of mail at the post office—there it was, an envelope with a neon sticker indicating a high level of importance. I opened the letter to find out that I was a potential match for patient in need of a marrow transplant. The letter asked me to please respond – the patient in need was a four-year-old boy.

Thrilled by the miracle that I was a match

When I found out that I was indeed a match, one of the physicians involved in the program explained to me how the testing worked and the results. The doctor told me that I was a match for this little boy. To me this was nothing short of a miracle because, 1) we were not related, and 2) my ancestry is a real “Heinz 57” with a few known, but also some “secret” ingredients.

My family, friends, employer, and community were all extremely supportive.

I thought the whole donation process went very smoothly. It was organized very well, from the itinerary to taxi vouchers and more—everything was there, easy to use and understand. I talked to many very kind people and I felt very supported.

Bone marrow donation

To me, the donation was easy. I got up early, went through all the pre op preparations and met everyone involved with the surgery. After the donation I was even able to see my bone marrow in the bag and I “blessed it” before it was whisked away to wherever the recipient was located. The post op recovery nurses then turned to me and said, “wow you just saved a life”.

My recovery

The hospital staff helped me understand the recovery process and how to control the pain. In recovery, I took a nice long nap, and later that afternoon my dad came to pick me up and take me home with him. When we arrived there about 2 hours later, I had very little pain but was exhausted and went to bed early after eating dinner.

The surgical site felt like a bad bruise, perhaps like if you had fallen on your butt on the ice, or something like that. It really wasn’t that bad. The pain pills they gave me handled that pain just fine, in fact I don’t think I even finished the prescription and was able to take ibuprofen a week later, as needed.

Follow up on my recipient

While I never did find out the name or location of my recipient, three years after my donation I was told the little boy was okay. I recently inquired again and as far as the donor center knows, now some 8 years later, he is still alive. (Editor’s Note: A donor and patient may exchange contact information if the patient’s transplant center rules allow, it has been at least one year since transplant, and both donor and patient consent.)

If I was asked to donate again, I would do it in a heartbeat. It was well worth this experience to give a family hope for their little boy, when this was his last hope.

127 Responses to “Thrilled by the Miracle That I Was Chosen as a Marrow Match!”

  1. Genie Qualls says:

    This story is awesome. I am in the marrow registry. I hope to be a match one day like her. May God Bless her for her wonderful gift to that little boy and his family. This is what it is all about!!!!

    • Anette Rosati says:

      Im in the registry too and can only hope I can bless someone like you have. God Bless you !

    • Meg Sindt says:

      I’ve been on the registry for 17 years and I’m still waiting and eager to donate! God willing, I’ll be a match for someone in need one day soon.

      Keep “sharing” Be The Match promos on Facebook so other people will register! Who knows whose life may be saved!!!

    • Alexis says:

      I was asked to go through more testing to see if I was someone’s match, and although I wasn’t a match, two years later my brother was. He proudly gave his bag of marrow yesterday. He’s my hero for helping save someone’s life or at least give the family hope for a recovery.

      My family joined the registry after my cousin got leukemia and needed a marrow donor. We would have joined earlier if we knew what kind of impact it can have on someone’s life.

      • Katie says:

        God bless your brother!

      • Michelle says:

        I’m sure God will bless anyone who’s donated marrow. It seems like such a cool thing to do and will affect the person receiving it in such a profound way. I’ve been in the registry for over 20 years and still hope that I might be a match someday. I would love to do this. 🙂

    • Sandy Campbell says:

      I became part of the registry 14 years ago, and I can’t wait till the day I get the call. I know it will come, and I feel blessed to be given a chance to help save someones life.

  2. Christi says:

    Gob Bless you! What an amazing gift. I will do it in a hearteat! Thank you for sharing your story. I went and was swabed a few years back and will be ready if I am ever called. Again God Bless you. Your a hero.

  3. Ann says:

    What a wonderful gift you gave that little boy and his family. God Bless you. I am on the registry and I would love to help someone.

  4. Stephanie says:

    great story – I’ve been on the registry for 10+ years, and have sometimes wondered if there is any point to staying on it – now I know there is!

  5. Elane says:

    I was a match for a Stem Cell donation 10 years ago, for a man who was suffering with Multiple Myeloma. I have never been sorry that I did the donation and follow-up blood donation a few months later. I don’t know how much longer the man lived, or if he is still living, but the possibility of either is such a miracle. After a few years of unrelated physical issues, I am again on the registry and would be very blessed to be a match for a second time.

    • Kevin says:

      Maybe he will be one of the people you meet on your journey to heaven, like Eddie the maintenance man. I have been on the list 13 years and I hope I am a match for someone, someday.

  6. Karen Clark Phelps says:

    I got the call once that I was a match but something changed and the young man didn’t get the transplant, I never heard back, I hope he’s okay. I really want to do this, I really want to help save a life. I hope they call me sometime for real.

    • Heather says:

      Keep hoping, Karen. This happened to me, too, and the disappointing news came after all preparatory testing was done and just days before the donation was to take place. It was devastating to me because of how it must have devastated the recipient and her family. But I’m staying in line (I’ve been waiting a long time as well) and hoping one day to get the call again. I’ll hope the same for you. God bless!

  7. Ida Aubain says:

    Dear Susan, many blessing’s to you for being a match. I registered about 13 year’s ago and never regretted that decision. God Bless You! .I hope that some day I can too can save a life through the “Be the match ” foundation.

  8. Sherri F says:

    Awesome story! I have been on the registry since my son relapsed and died in 1991 and have never been called. I am getting older and really hope to be called soon before I am too old.

    • ANGELA LEMOINE says:

      Dear Sherri, what a truly special person you are for wanting to help someone else after your own loss. I sincerely hope you get the call to donate your lifesaving marrow in your sons memory. He would be proud. God bless you.

  9. Phyllis Douglas says:

    What a wonderful story! I’ve been on the list about 15 years and have never been called. In 2007 I was led by The Lord to donate a kidney to a total stranger. God worked a miracle in us meeting and she is completely healthy now. She had been on dialysis for 8 years and near death. She has a new healthy life! Praise God!

  10. Robin Crawford says:

    What an amazing story to read! I have been a bone marrow donor for a long time now. I hope I can donate to someone someday & look forward to the very day.

  11. Colleen M. says:

    I look forward to these updates on miracles that have taken place. I, too, hope to be a match for someone someday.

  12. Julie C says:

    Here I am Lord. Send me!

  13. Doreen B says:

    Such a great story…Bless you for helping this little boy. I have been on the registry for over 15 years and was called once but with the second round of testing I was not a match. I too hope to be able to help someone someday.

  14. Holly says:

    What a great story! I have been on the list for years, I think. But no one ever told me I needed to be swabbed? So does that mean I’ve not actually been considered as a candidate all these years??? 🙁

    • Paula Wilson says:

      Holly, I had to be swabbed to be on the list. Unless you donated a vial of blood years and years ago before they changed the policy to the cheek swab. I believe it was about 15 years ago that it was changed. Please reach out to the organization and double check if they have you registered and not just on the email strand. It’s very important to follow through as you could potentially save someone’s life if you were a match.

    • Karenne Saylor says:

      Holly,
      I have also been on the list for years, but have never been swabbed. I wonder the same thing as you.

      • admin says:

        Hi Karenne, if you joined years ago it might have been a blood sample instead of a cheek swab. However, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-MARROW2 so we can verify your status on the registry. Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Holly, if you joined many years ago they might have taken a blood sample instead of a cheek swab. Please call us at 1-800-MARROW2 so we can verify your status on the registry! Thanks.

    • Judy says:

      Holly – I had a blood sample taken in the early 90’s. I was recently contacted to start the process as a potential match for someone. So if you’ve been tested via blood sample, there’s no need to have a subsequent cheek swab collected. This is from my experience…

  15. Robin F. says:

    Congratulations Susan….what a wonderful story! I became a bone marrow donor in 1998 and I have been a match 2 times, however I have not been called to provide the actual donation. It is a GREAT feeling just knowing that I am a match and that I can potentially help someone. I, too, like all the others really want to make the donation.

  16. Laura says:

    Years ago they took blood to put us on the registry; now they do a cheek swab. You don’t need to both. 🙂

  17. Val says:

    Holly –
    It sounds like you joined before the process changed from “an extra tube of blood” to a cheek swab. Those of us who joined more recently did a cheek swab; before that, it was a blood test. If you were already listed I’ve read nothing implying you’d need to do anything further.

    The cheek swab process has a bunch of advantages – for example, it can be done by mail, and people are far more likely to stop and do it at a drive at a fair or other event.

    If you’re not entirely sure whether you are listed, it might be worth calling the Registry to check. Or https://secure.marrow.org/Contact/Update_Your_Contact_Information.aspx has a contact info update link.

  18. Renee Brown says:

    This is such a great story. I pray that some day God will use me to help give someone more time on this earth with their loved ones! If I ever get the call I will be jumping for joy…. nothing would make me happier than to be able to help another!

  19. Jeff B says:

    I am gratful to know that I could still help someone in need and be a match someday. I have been on the registry for 20+ years because my neice needed a bone marrow transplant. We could not find a match. She passed before her 4th birthday. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

  20. Steve C says:

    I have been in the registry for almost 20 years. I got the call 10 years ago that I was a match. I was able to donate bone marrow to a patient in Wyoming. Susan did a great job describing the procedure. The pain is nothing when compared to what the recipient is going thru. I was back to normal wihin a few days. Good for you Susan. I would do it again in a minute.

    • Jill N says:

      My mother, brother and I are all in the registry. The amazing thing is my Mom and brother have BOTH been matches! Mom’s recipient didn’t make it , but my brother is in contact with his still today. She was a young girl at the time and they have met and everything . I had a call that I was a potential match , but never heard back so I’m still waiting for the day I can save a life also:).

  21. Julie says:

    I registered less than a year ago. I received emails and a letter that I was a potential match about six months later. I was so excited that I could be a part of something so wonderful. Unfortunately, I was not moved onto the next step (the registry does not give you exact reasons for this) and I felt so disappointed. This story gives me hope I could be a match someday.

  22. Lara W says:

    I have been in the registry for over 20 years and once got called for a further blood test to see if I was a match, but it turned out I wasn’t. I was disappointed. I always hope that one day I will be a match for someone. What a great deed to save a life if one can!

    I just want to tell Susan that you did an amazing thing for that 4 year old and his family. Even though you haven’t been in contact with the recipient, I’m sure the whole family is forever grateful to you, no matter what his outcome. There are so many reasons why sometimes these “meetings” between the recipient and donor never happen and I’m sure it’s frustrating to the family not to be able to tell you how very grateful to you they truly are.

  23. broderick says:

    i’ve been on the list for 11 years and i hope to one day have the chance to donate

  24. Amy says:

    So excited for all parties involved. I’ve been waiting 10 years–guess it could still happen! Blessings to donor and recipient.

  25. Jacqueline says:

    Susan thank you for your most inspirational story, and thorough explanation of the entire process. I joined the registry just a few months ago when I saw Robin Roberts story on GMA. I suggest joining to everyone who I meet, and all who I have contact with on social media. I always share the links from Be The Match on my facebook wall as well. LOVE to everyone here.

  26. Yvonne says:

    I teared up reading this and truly hope I too will be able to serve in the same way some day. What an awesome contribution. This is what it’s all about!

  27. Terri H says:

    I signed up to be a donor while my 14 ½ year old son; was in a Coma fighting for his life and waiting for his organs to recover to receive his bone marrow transplant. June 16th, 2011 he received his life saving cells from a donor in the registry. I started writing her anonymous letters the day we received her cells. She too wrote back. We could not wait to exchange contact information and have been communicating thru email every since. She is in Minnesota and we are in Texas because of this we have not had the opportunity to meet in person, one of these days we will. This young woman who was 24 at the time is such a blessing, I call her our Angel, we love her , I pray for her and without her cells my son would not have seen his 15th Birthday. She is and will always be a part of our son. My Son is 16 and a junior in high school and doing very well. We call him a walking miracle.
    Registering is the first step, getting the honor of becoming a Match and saving a life is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. I pray that I can save a life one day!

  28. Shannon says:

    What an amazing story. I joined the registry three years ago when the husband of a friend of mine was in need of a match. He was a police officer, newly married with a young daughter, but was never matched and passed away. It breaks my heart that his little girl lost her father and my friend lost her husband.

    I have never been called, but with children of my own (one who is four) Susan’s story really hit a chord with me. What a fantastic blessing to be able and willing to save a life- especially one so young and full of promise. I hope I can do the same one day! You are an inspiration Susan!

  29. steve zalaznik says:

    hooray for you, i had the honor of becoming a donor in 2000,
    i would do it again at a moments notice!!! i felt it was a easy procedure, no complications what so ever. you’re a wonderful person!!!!! have a great day!!!

  30. Linda says:

    I too was on the registry almost 17 years when I got the call – one year ago this week as a matter of fact. 🙂 I donated PBSCs last Fall to a 50 year old man with ALL.

    Donating stem cells through PBSCs is a little different than donating them through bone marrow. Instead of surgery, they take the peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs)from the bloodstream with an apheresis machine after a course of drug treatment that makes your bones produce an overabundance of stem cells. It was a five-day process, but the NMDP made everything easy. Some bone pain because of the drugs, but nothing compared to the awesome feeling of knowing you’re helping someone with another chance at life.

    Mine was an international donation and my recipient’s medical center will not allow any direct contact between us – ever. Although I’ve written a couple of times anonymously through the NMDP, I’ve heard nothing back. Not even if he is still alive after the transplant. I just hope and pray that he is and getting healthier every day.

  31. Megan says:

    What an amazing story! I too am on the registry and hope to one day be able to help someone in need. God bless you for doing something so selfless!

  32. Debbie M. says:

    Your story brought tears t my eyes. What a wonderful gift you gave this little boy. I hope you both have years of health and happiness.

    I have been on the list since (around) 1993 and have never been called. 🙁 Your story has given me hope that someday, I will be able to help someone too. Thanks for sharing!!!

  33. Jackie Staack says:

    God bless you and thanks for sharing your story .. I am on the list and am ready willing and able should the match be made until then it brings joy in my heart to see all the other people that are waiting to donate ( that is what life is all about- ready to help others in their time of need- it is what God wants us to do) God Bless You again and thanks for sharing:)

  34. Paula Wilson says:

    Susan and everyone else who has been called as a match, God Bless you all. I became an organ donor when I was 18 and didn’t find out about Be the Match until I was 40, that was 15 years ago. I’ve never been blessed with a call yet, but I have 5 more years until I’m eligible and I pray I get the opportunity to donate. I’ll continue donating blood and platelets until I die, until then, maybe I’ll be a perfect match before I turn 60. Love and blessings to my fellow potential match sisters and brothers.

  35. Rosanne says:

    I donated in 2001 and have never regretted it. My recipient lived less than a year after the transplant, but she got time she wouldn’t have otherwise had and that made it all worth it. I’d love to do it again, given the chance. It’s nice to know how many people are eager to help save a life!!

  36. Jackie G. says:

    My sister has Leukemia (CML) and my brother had a bout with Hairy Cell Leukemia. I had a bone marrow donor drive to facilitate a possible match for my sister since none of the 4 siblings matched her. My brother is not in need of a donor. During a prayer breakfast, my sister got a call from MD Anderson saying she has a perfect match. She decided not to take the transplant because her doctor advised her that a new experimental drug that was developed was actually a better idea. She is still alive and her donor is still on stand-by should she ever decide to go through with it. I want to say that I am very grateful to God almighty for the exact match and for the development of another new drug right when she needed it!! And thank all of you with all of my heart for cooperating in this bone marrow donor program and for doing your part to help save lives. May you be blessed 100 fold in proportion to the gift you give. (Just want to also add that my husband was also notified that he is a perfect match for someone but nothing has transpired yet with his match.)

  37. Sherry N says:

    What great stories I have read here! Thank you everyone for sharing as well as your committment to this program! I too have been on the registry since 1998 and have never been contacted as a potential match. As a Neuroscience Nurse, I have seen many patients/families in medical crisis throughout my years.These stories have given me hope that someday, maybe I will be able to have the honor of helping.

  38. Rose Sirois says:

    I became a donor about 10 years ago and got a call once that I was a match, but they ended up not needing me. I am a regular blood donor and would donate marrow in a second. Unfortunately, in Alaska, they dont have marrow drives very often and you have to pay if you want to do it another time.

  39. Greg F. says:

    I have been a life long blood/platelet donor, I hope one day i will be called upon to save a life.I just wish more people were aware of this program. Please spread the word. God bless you.What a wonderful story.

  40. Elizabeth P says:

    What a wonderful story. I went on the registry after my husband’s step dad got a transplant from an unrelated donor on the registry inIn the mid 90’s. He did die of complications, but the woman who donated gave us all hope, and gave him a chance – for which we will always be grateful. I was notified a few years ago that I was a potential match for someone. Of course I said I would donate. I don’t know what happened to that person, but I would be willing to donate if asked in a heartbeat.

  41. Mary Ann E. says:

    Yay!!! Thank you for sharing your happy story. I hope that I can contribute a story like yours someday. Someday SOON. Like my 89-year old father will say, “Send me in, coach — I”m good!”

  42. Susan says:

    When I saw the subject line of the email “Marrow Registry: 17 years later, Susan becomes a match” I was so excited. My first name is Susan and I thought I was being told I was a match!!

    Disappointed that I was not a match, but excited that someone else was a match.

    I hope that one day I will be a match…actually, I have been on the registry for over 27 years.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  43. Margaret Minor says:

    I joined the registry right after 9/11- I’ve been a strong advocate since then. Twice they’ve called me as a match, but ultimately went with someone else.
    People ask me, Doesn’t it hurt? To me, what is a little pain, discomfort when this is the GIFT of life?
    I’m a single mom with no financial support the last 12 years- regardless, I would do it in a heartbeat!

  44. John Jensen says:

    Great story thanks for sharing!

    I was on the registry for about 3 years when I revieced the call that I was a possible match. I went in for further testing and was found to be a perfect match. I am half Norwegian and the rest a small mixture of ingredients, she is a full blood Italian. We live on opposite coast and we are of the same age. The donation process was just as you described it. After the first year we were able to exchange letters then phone numbers. I have traveled over to her house and stayed with her and her family several times and she has traveled over to stay here with my family and I. She is doing great it has been 19 years now! I have since remained on the registry hoping to once again be called up to donate.

  45. Alison says:

    I just want to say thank you, thank you for giving and thank you to all those that are willing to give. My sister received a non-related donor transplant in 93. Unfortunately she did not survive but the willingness of someone to donate to save the life of a person they have never met is amazing. I was 10 at the time and I joined the registry, I rejoined as an adult just to ensure I was still listed. I pray some day I will be able to give someone to same opportunity that was given to my sister. Although her outcome was not the one we wanted without the willingness of an unrelated donor we would not have been given the hope of a better one. Thank you all

  46. Sheila says:

    Dear Susan,
    Fifteen years ago my husband had a stem cell transplant. A few years later he had a kidney transplant. Tomorrow we are traveling out of state to visit the cousin who donated that kidney. You might not ever meet the recipient but please know that they and their families are forever grateful. For fifteen years I have continued to have a husband and my children continue to have a father. To you and all those like you who care enough… Thank you!

    • Chris Nguyen says:

      Bravo Susan, it is so humble of you to say that you’ve been saving 1 life. In fact, you’ve forgotten that every pint of blood that you’ve been donating throughout the years saved 3 lives each time. So the total lives that you’ve been saving are: “3n + 1” !
      God Bless.

  47. Deena says:

    Today as I write this my mom is headed to the hospital for a Bone Marrow Transplant. Diagnosed with AML 2 years ago she was doing great until Feb of this year when we found out she had relapsed. We knew this time around she needed a transplant and her initial diagnosis no one came close to her for a match even her 2 siblings were only 1/2 matches. 2 years later we have a near perfect match for her. I know I may never meet the wonderful person who has agreed to give us hope, but I (and our family) will forever be greatful. I am on the registry and joined when my mom was diagnosed (didn’t know much about it until then). I hope that someday I get the call that I am a match for someone in need and that I can give them the same hope we have today. Dedicating this to all of the wonderful people who have joined be the match, for those whom have found a match and for my mom.

    • Lorrie Lupio says:

      Deena:

      Your story could have been written by me. My husband is having his transplant in April. I hope your Mom is recovering. Know you have a very extended family out here! God Bless your entire family!!!

  48. Maureen says:

    Good for you, Susan! I also donated marrow and felt privileged to be able to help someone that was so much in need. I donated about 6 months after I registered (19 years ago), and got to meet my recipient. I was called up 2 other times but a closer match was found for those people – which to me means that more people are registering, which is Awesome!!

  49. Valli says:

    I joined the registry about 19 years ago when my middle brother was diagosed with Leukemia. My oldest brother and I did not match him, and he later passed away, but only after receiving a transplant from a beautiful lady living in Califonia. He passed away 1-1/2 years after the transplant, before he and his doner had the opportunity to meet. She is still in contact with my family to this day. I know of two others who were tested for my brother’s bone marrow drive, that have been called to donate, but I do not know the outcome. I hope and pray that someday, I will have to opportunity to help someone else as my brother’s doner did. She blessed us with an additional year and we are forever grateful!! God bless you all for getting involved!!

  50. Wendy says:

    I just received a happy anniversary e-mail for being on the registry for 19 years. I hope to one day be a match for someone!

  51. cida says:

    I joined the registry for a few years now while donation blood at the Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles.
    No doubt I will do the surgery to save someone’s life…
    Right now i have a 40 years old cousin who is in treatment for Leukemia at the USC Hospital. We don’t know yet if she will be able to get a transplant but we sure hope so someone out there (great if i could) be a donnar.
    May God bless of you involved and in the Registry.
    cida – Redondo Beach – CA

  52. Sherrie says:

    I have been on the registry for many years…and would love for someday to get the call to donate…as long as I am able…I am willing…it would be a true blessing for me to do!

  53. Kistin says:

    There was a drive for a little boy about my son’s age when I registered almost 10 years ago. I’ve never been called upon but would welcome the opportunity any time. Thank you for sharing, Susan and God bless all of you that have been able to help or gotten “in line” to do so. I think it’s such a little thing to do that could change someone’s happily ever after story. I wish I could encourage more of my family and friends to sign up, get swabbed and be the match!!

  54. Lisa Robin Morales says:

    What a lovely story. I have 14+ years in the registry since I gave that tube of blood. I’m still eagerly awaiting the call.

  55. Jennifer says:

    Nice to know that all these years after I did my donation that I might be called to be a match for someone. What a wonderful thought that doing something in my early 20’s that was as easy as giving blood could help someone all these years later. ( I am now 39)

  56. Brian says:

    What a wonderful story. I had been in the registry database for a little over six years when I found out I was a potential match from among ten or twelve people for a little three year old girl somewhere in the world. Now just over one year later I know that she is doing well is all the news I was able to be given. What a big smile on my face when I heard that last fall. I was in the database from attending a marrow drive for a friend’s daughter who I was not a match for but was the reason I was in the database and if not for them I may never have been so I am grateful for that. Their daughter now seventeen years old is doing very well after a transplant some years ago. It is such a rewarding and humbling experience to go through. I never thought I would ever have an opportunity to help in such a way. I would not hesitate to do it again. If anyone has the opportunity they should at least look into it as it is so rewarding and not a bad experience overall.

  57. nora says:

    Thank you to everyone who is on the registry. My dad has been diagnosed with AML and is in need of a transplant. He has two possible non-related donors. We will hopefully find out in 1-2wks if either will be able to donate. It really touches my heart to hear your comments about being on the registry and your wishes to be a donor for someone in need. I too have joined the registry and would love to have the opportunity to help save a life! May God bless each and every one of you for your love and compassion for others. I would love to hear any stories about someone you know who has received a transplant.

  58. Lynn J says:

    I’ve been on this list since my sister was diagnosed with and die from Luekemia in 2008. I never had a swap – my blood was tested as a possible match for my sister, and my actual lad tests are on file. I’d donate in a heartbeat so another family wouldn’t have to go through what we did.

  59. Hugo says:

    Que bonito amor. Dar sin esperar nada a cambio. Quizas solo una tierna mirada o una Bella sonrisa en respuesta. Ser donante es eso y mas.

  60. Debby says:

    The English poet John Milton once wrote “they also serve who only stand and wait” . I too have been on the list for over 18 years and have never been called BUT I know I’m serving a purpose by just being ON the list. Meanwhile every time I renew my drivers license I religiously check YES in the organ donor box and regularly donate my O+ CMV neg platelets ( >5 gallons) and know that every hour of slight discomfort for me equals hours of healing to someone else. Just because we have to “wait” doesn’t mean we can’t “serve” by doing something else. I always encourage everyone to consider being a platelet donor. It’s not as easy as giving blood but its incredibly important. If you can’t handle the platelet procedure, donate blood as often as you can. With each donation you are giving someone else a chance to live.

  61. cindy wilson says:

    When I was 10 my father died in 1966 of Leukemia, so at 18 I started donating blood because so many people had shared theirs with him. In the 1980’s I registered and in 2003 I got the call…after much testing, indeed I was the match! So many emotions for my family when we found out it was a gentleman the same age as my father with the same kind of Leukemia as my dad had. The marrow was flown to an unknown location 14 hours away, I have never heard the outcome of the transplant and that’s okay. It was a true blessing for us and pray it was for him too.

  62. Terri says:

    Like so many others, I have been on the list for over 15 years, but never called. I pray that someday I can help someone, and I continue to promote others to register.
    It just makes me sad that with so many people on the registry, a lot of us don’t match others. Just shows the immense complexity of the human body. Like Debby above, I too donate platelets if needed when I donate blood. Here’s to all of us getting that “call” someday!

  63. Brenda Tucker says:

    What a wonderful story to a happy ending..I am also a donor and and ready when called. I lost my mom and she needed a marrow transplant with no donor available. I hope I can honor her someday and save a life.

  64. Brenda Tucker says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story to the happy ending. I lost my mom to this and no donor was located, so I am ready to donate in her honor and save a life. God Bless all of you.

  65. Tracy says:

    I signed up 19 years ago and just got a call last week as a possible match for 14 year old boy. I hope I am a match and am able to help.

  66. Pam Martin says:

    What a wonderful story! I’m a donor also. A very good friend of mine had a son who was 6 and needed a bone marrow transplant. A match was found, it was actually a good friend of the family, and he had the transplant, however, it did not take so another one was done and that one worked. Unfortunately, because his cancer was so rare, he did not survive, but I saw the hope that we all had when someone was able to be a donor. I hope one day that I will have the same opportunity to help save a life. God puts us on earth for a reason and maybe one of my reasons for being here is to help someone else in this way.

  67. Heidi says:

    I have also been on the donor list for just about 17 years. Susan’s story gives me hope that I, too, might someday get the “call” that I am a match.

  68. Linda Piatt says:

    I signed up 12 years ago and just got a call in February that I am a potential match for an infant girl with leukemia. I had more blood taken and received a follow up letter that I am still very much a potential donor. I am praying that I can be the blessing this little girl needs. Your story was wonderfully inspiring and the timing perfect!

  69. Helen says:

    God bless you for saving a life!

    I am on the list but have a question. Just had a baby and we banked the cord blood privately. I wonder if the registry has any provision to allow anyone to benefit from this.

  70. Stacie H. says:

    I Loved reading this success story. I have been on the registry for 17 years, praying to be a match for someone. I am on the registry because my 36 yr. old husband had Leukemia. He lost his battle, but thanks to him we set a one day record of registration back in 1995. Now that it only requires a cheek swab, everyone should be on the registry!

  71. Lucy says:

    I joined the registry when my daughter who was 19 years old was notified she was a match for a 13 year old boy. We were told he was doing well. She wanted to know more after the year went by but has not heard of his status. She was a blood donor in high school (with my permission) at age 17 and was also swabed. She was a real trooper after the procedure and decided not to take the pain medication. My husband and I are so proud of her and she would donate again without reservation. God bless the donors and the recipients.

  72. Judy says:

    My daughter was diagnosed with AML leukemia back in 2010 we actually had organized a bone marrow drive and had many recipients donate! She did receive a transplant and did go into remission but unfortunately other complications set in and she passed away. But we were able to enjoy her life longer due to her receiving this gift! I am currently registered and would be more than willing to donate if I was called! God bless all those who remain on the list and to those who join the list!

  73. Helene says:

    I was matched with someone a few years ago and was thrilled that I could help someone. Unfortunately, the person was unable to receive a transplant at that time. It really made me sad that the transplant couldn’t go through. I think of that person and hope they are OK.
    My daughter’s university (Ohio University) Hillel has had a swab drive every year and there have been several matches made. Everyone is excited that college students can make a difference.
    Giving marrow is such a small thing to save someone’s life. Everyone should get on the list.

  74. Amy says:

    Great story! I’ve been on the registry for well over 10 years, and I’ve got less than a year and a half before I turn 60 and can no longer donate. I’ve been hoping that I’d turn out to be the match for someone before my “use by” date expires; even if it doesn’t happen, I’m happy to have participated, and I’ll continue to urge others to join up.

  75. Vickie V. says:

    I was a stem cell donor last year after being on the registry for about 7 years. I was so excited and felt blessed to be able to do this for another person not even related to me. I am hoping that this 40 something year old woman is doing well and I gave her a name “Esperanza” which means “Hope” in Spanish. I turned 60 last year and it was the last time I could donate. Talk about meant to be. I urge everyone to join and you can make a difference in not only the person receiving the donation but their family.

  76. Leesa says:

    Many years ago I had a dear friend (age 30) diagnosed with leukemia. The drugs made her feel terrible, so she decided to go with the bone marrow transplant option. A match was finally found with a lady in France. Unfortunately it did not work, and three months later she was gone. But I applaud her courage to take a chance on getting well. Most of all, though, I still wish I could thank the generous French woman who unselfishly gave my friend that chance at life.

  77. Mike D says:

    Bless you and this organization. I’ve been waiting over 14 years and still get excited about one day getting that phone call or letter to donate.

  78. Sharon C says:

    I joined the registry between 25 and 30 years ago for another little boy who needed help. I have never been contacted, but I pray that some day I will have the opportunity to share with someone who needs my marrow.

  79. Susan Frame says:

    I would love to donate to anyone. I have had 4 corneal transplants and would love to reciprocate in some way. But I turned 60 this year and I think they took me off the list. I am very healthy. I hope they haven’t.

  80. Marco Granja says:

    Very inspiring, I am actually scheduled to donate my bone marrow next Wed 4/17/13. A little nervous yet excited at the same time. Your story gave me a better idea of what to expect “Thank You very much” !!!

  81. Donna F says:

    Great story and an accurate description of the process. (I am a physician and am familiar with it.) I have been on the registry for over 30 years and hope to have the opportunity to donate some day. My brother-in-law had leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant 6 years ago. Without it he would have died within a year–he is still alive and since the tranplant he has walked both his daughters down the aisle and welcomed 2 grandchildren. His donor–from Germany–gave a selfless, priceless gift and we are so grateful. Encourage everyone you know to register as a potential donor. The process is so simple for the donor and life-saving for the recipient.

  82. kent says:

    20 years on the list no calls haha i guess thats good in its way but im still ready to go although I dont wish the need for it on anyone

  83. Patty says:

    I’ve been registered for probably about 20 years, did get called once about 10 years ago, there was a woman in need, I went through the testing, but unfortunately I wasn’t a match, I pray that she found someone else. But all you wonderful people out there waiting for “the call” another thing that you can do, as Debby mentioned before, to help save more lives is to donate platelets. Platelets are needed for people going through procedures such as chemotherapy & organ transplants. You may be able to donate plasma along with the platelets too. It’s a more complicated process than donating blood & takes awhile longer, but it’s so critical because platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days! But you can donate again after 7 days-up to 26 times a year. There’s no pain at all and you get to lounge while hooked up to the machine, eat snacks & watch movies. United Blood Services also gives points, I haven’t paid for a movie in years! Contact your local Blood Center where you would donate blood.

  84. Shell says:

    That is an amazing story. Someday I hope to be able with the ability to be blessed to help someone as well. : )

  85. Teresa says:

    I have a very good friend who had Acute Myloid Lukemia. His life was saved by stem cell donation! I was present when he received the stem cell infusion–it’s an amazing experience on the receiving end too! He is now five years post transplant and still cancer free, hallelujah! I signed up to be a donor while he was undergoing his treatment and am waiting and hoping to get the opportunity to donate; what an awesome privilege it would be!

  86. Caron says:

    I’ve been on the registry for nearly 20 years. I’ll become ineligible this year when I turn 60. I’m disappointed I’ve never been called, but proud to have been willing (The English poet John Milton once wrote “they also serve who only stand and wait.”) Recently I posted on FB that I would become ineligible this year and asked someone to step up (sign up) to take my place. I’m happy to report that at least one person confirmed that she did so!

    You are heroes, each and every one of you!

  87. Roseann LoFrisco says:

    My mother passed away in 1997 and following her funeral I was informed that she was not my birthmother. Apparently my father (who appears to be my biological father) had problems with monogamy – to put it politely – and I was the result of an affair. My beautiful mother raised me as her own and never wanted me to know. It was difficult for me to deal with all this information – particularly when I realized that there were at least 2 half-siblings out there. What if we needed something from each other – like bone marrow? I registered the year after my mom died. I got called once and then told I wasn’t needed and I pray whoever needed it is okay. It’s the only way I have of being there for someone who might be related – but I like the idea of being there for anyone. This was a wonderful story to read.

  88. Tammy Savage says:

    I have been a donor for over 20 years and I am not giving up hope of being a perfect match for someone! This would be the best gift I could ever give.

  89. Mary Beth Bissig says:

    Loved reading your story. I have been registered for 22 years, with no call. January 25th I got an email I was a potential match. I was thrilled beyond belief. I contacted the registry twice to see if there was something I needed to do, and was told they would let me know. Tremendously disappointed to hear at the end of March that for whatever reason (they don’t tell you) I was not needed for further testing and would be returned to the registry. Hopefully I will match someone again in the future and will go beyond that first contact for further testing and a donation. I have lost 2 good friends to lymphoma and leukemia, I would love to help a family in need.

    BTW, I joined the Registry via blood sample 22 years ago. I have kept my email and contact info current, for those who were wondering if old registrants needed to check if they were still listed.

  90. Kathryn Moreau says:

    So wonderful to hear your story. I have been registered for 5 years and was contacted by email a year or so ago as a possible donor. I was so excited, but after the phone call to answer questions about me and my health status, I was never notified to actually become the donor.
    I am going to be 59 in August, so the clock is ticking for me to become a donor. If I miss my window of opportunity, I will have to try to get more people to join the registry.
    Good luck!

  91. Patti says:

    I have been registered for many years. Unfortunately I never had the chance to donate but am not sorry I registered. Having turned 60 a month ago I will not be able to. I thank everyone that has registered.

  92. Brian says:

    I joined in 98′ and am still waiting to give. Recently I was given a notice that I had a rare match and told that I might never be able to donate. That got me thinking, if I am rare, and I might never need to donate, than that also means I might never get a donation either if I needed one. Please ask your friends and family to join and give the gift of life. Thank you.

  93. Teresa says:

    I also joined when my grandaughter needed a donor but we were not a match but they did find a match for her and she is all better now its been 2 years and they say she is cured now so i would be a donor if they said i was a match and i would like to thank the person who saved my grandaughters life and we hope to get to meet them soon.

  94. Shelley says:

    You are a hero! Thank you!

    I am a bone marrow recipient. I had my transplant 2 1/2 years ago. I wasn’t able to find my donor, but I feel that all of you who donate are truly angels among us. Because of people like you, I have another chance at life.

  95. jennifer says:

    What a wonderful thing, I am relatively new to the registry but cannot wait to be contacted to help save a life! if this little bit of time can be worth so much I am happy to be called!

  96. Barbara says:

    A great big thank you to everyone who registers. An even bigger thank you to those who are selected to donate.

    I received my transplant in July 2010 and requested contact with my donor. We have been emailing and it is wonderful to be able to say thank you. I’m traveling to Europe to meet him late this summer. It will be exciting for sure.

    To those who have not had contact with their recipient, please know your gift is appreciated. Sometimes a recipient, like myself, is afraid to make contact. I wanted to be well enough so that my donor would be proud of my hard work. That might sound silly, but I was afraid of disappointing him.

    Thanks to you all for your encouraging words and spreading the word on registering. If you’re not up for registering, please consider donating blood. Those of us in treatment do use other blood products.

    Wonderful story. Keep sharing!

  97. Shannon says:

    What a wonderful inspiration you are! Thanks for sharing. I would be honored to donate too. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  98. Annette Hutcheson says:

    I am on the registry. I would love to be called to save a life. I am hoping to matched to someone before I am considered too old. So many people on the registry, yet so many more needing matches that just aren’t available. God Bless You!

  99. Lorrie Lupio says:

    Thank you to whoever is giving my husband bone marrow in April. Words cannot describer how grateful we are and always will be. I hope someday you will decide you want to know us so that you can see how wonderful he is doing. God Bless Our Donor!!!!

  100. Michelle Ridge says:

    Thank you for donating and saving a life. Everyone on here that is registered thank you. My daughter is a leukemia survivor thanks to a bone marrow transplant. In the end we didnt have to have a donor. They used her marrow. But it was scary while searching wondering if there would be a match found. Most of the time the match is not a relative. Time is very critical in this matter of a donor. The patient can relapse and in some cases they never go back into remission. So if you are reading this and you aer not a donor I urge you please sign up. You could save a life. Thank you again to all those who are listed as a donor. THANK YOU!!!

    • Amber Rowen says:

      I too have been a long time member on the “Be the Match” Donor list. Like many others, got started with regular blood donating and recruited from their.

      Everyone on this list, we are all heros!

  101. marie says:

    I have been on the registry since 1994, contacted twice as a potential donor, but (sadly) did not end up being a match on either occasion. I had also hoped to be a match for my best friend who is receiving his transplant on April 29th. Instead I am grateful for his donor: we call him, “Clark Kent” and think of his goodness (healthy cells) triumphing, much like Superman, over evil ( cancer cells). I will never give up hope of being a donor. I will continue to be inspired by those who have had the honor of donating. To all the donors – most especially to “Clark Kent” I off you my deepest gratitude. God Bless us all.

  102. Jean says:

    I have a question.

    I joined a few years ago and now I am a possible match. I would like to donate blood to help people in need but I do not know if that will disqualify me from being “the match.” I have already been interviewed and they will let me know in 2 weeks…

    I read somewhere that you have to wait 2 months before donating blood again, and what if I am called…

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Jean,
      Great question! This can vary- so it is best to work directly with your donor center on what they recommend. You can also feel free to call us at 1-800-MARROW2 and we can help you with any additional questions!

  103. Melissa says:

    I’ve just been contacted by The Caitlin Raymond International Registry as a possible match for a 10 year old child. I signed up originally at a donor drive at Fenway Park in 2010. I am thrilled at the prospect of helping someone in need, but nervous of course. Thank you for this article, it is helping to ease my anxiety. I sure hope I’m a perfect match and can help this family!

  104. Stephania Ford says:

    After finding out today that my daughter and husband are not matches for my 21-year-old son, we are hopeful that someone within the donor registry will be a match for him. Thank you to all who donate. I am looking forward to hearing that my son has a match soon!

  105. Rey says:

    God bless you, i just scare of anesthesia and im kinda fighting with myself because i really wanna do this, but i dont know how i’m gonna handle seeing needle and ect,! i read some Articles and it seams that sometimes donating has side effects i mean bone marrow!
    please help me to challenge the fear because i really wanna be a part.

  106. LuAnn says:

    Receieved a letter stating I am a potential match today. Was very mixed with emotions but overall my cup runneth over this is is such a blessing! It comes when you least expect it!!

  107. Deborah says:

    God bless all of you that are in the registry. I have mylodsplastic syndrome,I am 62, I have been waiting and wZiting on a match, something different in my DNA, but they gave found one person in a different country that will match and as it turns out I have a brother also but he is 81. I am so thankful. I just want to pray and say thank you all for this gift of life for we that need your help.

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