Abby’s Donation Story

Posted October 8th, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories
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Abby-203pxAbby first learned about Be The Match® at work in 2011 through her boss. She was asking others to register for a friend who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Wanting to help, Abby joined the Be The Match Registry®. Unfortunately, she was not a match for her boss’ friend, but just three months later, she got a call telling her that she was matched to a 15-year-old boy in California. Abby donated marrow, extracted from the pelvic bone through an outpatient surgical procedure, to her recipient six months later and describes her journey as “the best experience ever!”

How did friends and family react?

Abby felt a mix of emotions when she told friends and family she was going to donate marrow. Although her loved ones were excited about her decision, they were also nervous and scared. They had many questions to be answered, and they wanted to make sure that the procedure would be safe for her.

Abby educated her husband and two children about the procedure in hopes that they would understand how determined she was to help. She was able to ease their fears, along with those of her friends and family, and their support became a crucial factor to the success of her donation.

Abby’s donation journey

Abby had one main worry when going through with donation. “My main concern was, ‘will I have enough marrow?!’” said Abby. Being very petite, she was afraid that her body would not be able to give enough marrow to help cure her recipient. Abby’s donor center, doctors, and loved ones all reassured her that everything would go well, and her procedure was a complete success! “The doctors, nurses, and Be The Match always answered any questions and or concerns I had,” said Abby.

After donation, Abby experienced some side effects. These side effects consisted of nausea, pain, fatigue and weakness. However, they did not last long and Abby was shortly back to her regular routine. Looking back on her experience, Abby explains that she did not realize how much the donation would change her.

Connections with Abby’s recipient

Recently, Abby was able to get in contact with her recipients mother*. They talked for more than two hours, sharing each other’s journey, what their lives are like now, and learning more about one another’s family. Abby was also able to hear the great news, first hand, that her recipient is now 95% recovered and is doing extremely well. Both families are looking forward to meeting in the future, and share a connection that cannot be replaced. “Emotionally, it was an amazing experience. I was left with a great feeling inside of me that will last a lifetime.”


*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.

7 Responses to “Abby’s Donation Story”

  1. Elaine Maidhoff says:

    Abby, I’m so glad you joined the registry and most importantly that you were a match to someone who really needed your help!. I joined the registry years ago but have not been called yet, but I don’t lose faith that someone will need me as well. God Bless You and your family!

  2. Abby says:

    Thank you for your comment. You are a brave woman and trust me, you are already helping someone out there, because you have already done your part by joining the registry. Best of luck

  3. Kathy says:

    Hi Abby,
    Like Elaine, I joined years ago (19 years, shortly after my son was born) and have yet to be called. How exciting for you and great for the recepicant.
    Thanks for caring and sharing your marrow and story!

  4. Karen says:

    I joined years ago as well, I got a call once but for some reason they did not go forward and I was ultimately not needed, that was disappointing. I envy you the opportunity to do this. Congratulations and thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

  5. Allison says:

    Your story is truly inspiring! I have been on the donor registry list for 22 years and have yet to be called. I pray that one day I will be called to help someone in need. May God continue to bless you and your recipient with the gift of peace.

  6. Victoria says:

    Abby, as a co-worker and a friend,,,,YOU ARE MY IDOL!!! You were so brave and had so much conviction….that I never once thought all wouldn’t turn out well….It was and still is A Blessing From God…..that You, Abby, were selected to save another’s life…..You are an Angel. Bless You

  7. Abby R says:

    Dear kathy, karen, allison and victoria. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and sharing your desire of helping some one in this unique way. Dont loose hope, God had his own timing for everything. Victorua, thank you for all your support and prayers while going through this process, it meant alot to me!!!

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