Be The Match supporter pays tribute to dear family friend, Jocy

Posted October 21st, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in News, Patient Stories
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Jocy“The minute we met Jocy, we knew she’d be perfect. We were wrong, she was better than that.”

Jocy led a beautiful life full of hope and love. At the age of three, while at her sister’s doctor’s appointment, doctors noticed Jocy was pale, jaundice and quite weak. After further tests, Jocy was diagnosed with beta thalassemia major (or Cooley’s anemia), a genetic blood disorder.

From that day on the hospital was her second home. She received blood transfusions every two weeks at first, and then every 3-4 weeks after some time. She would continue to receive blood transfusions for the rest of her life.  Although the blood transfusions helped keep Jocy alive, they also damaged her other organs. For every blood transfusion, she also had iron overload, which led to damaging her liver.

Described by her family as “one of the most unselfish people,” she would always worry about everyone else before herself. Jocy had a passion for children early on in life, taking child development classes in high school, leading her to become a nanny for many great families, including Lisi Harrison’s family.

Lisi met Jocy in 2007. Lisi lead a hectic life, with a two-year-old son, a newborn and a looming book deadline. Lisi’s family was looking for a nanny and Jocy applied for the job. “We interviewed close to 20 people,” said Lisi. “The minute we met Jocy we knew she’d be perfect. We were wrong, she was better than that.”

After years of blood transfusions and alternative treatments, in 2013 her doctors determined that a bone marrow transplant would be her best hope for a cure. Jocy’s search for a match was short, lasting just 7 months. After determining Jocy’s family were not close enough matches, she turned to the Be The Match Registry® to find a perfect match, as doctors would only perform the transplant if the donor was a 10 out of 10 match due to her poor health. The family hosted a marrow registry drive on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013, a day Jocy thought to be lucky. Jocy’s family said that she would have been happy even if they could find a match for someone else and not her.

Jocy had many supporters, her family, fiancé, friends, the Harrison family and many people that she had never met. The event coordinators at the marrow registry drive were amazed at the number of people who came out to support Jocy that day. A total of 64 new members were added to the registry. Unfortunately a few weeks after the drive, Jocy passed away, before her match could be found.

The Harrison family was blessed to have Jocy in their lives for six years. They loved her deeply and knew she loved them too. “Love radiated from her with everything she did,” said Lisi. “Our entire community felt it and continues to mourn her absence.”

Jocy’s family is coping with their loss, dealing with their grief. Not a day goes by that they don’t talk about her or mention Jocy’s name in their home. “She lives within us and around us,” said Jocy’s sister, Evelyn.

“After seeing my sister fight for her life and never give up, that’s what I would tell everyone…Never give up on life or hope and never stop fighting,” said Evelyn.

Jocy’s impact will be felt by thousands of patients as the proceeds of the gorjana & griffin S.W.A.P. bracelet will go toward growing the Be The Match marrow registry, assisting patients with uninsured transplant costs and advancing research in marrow transplantation.

Purchase your bracelet in honor of Jocy>

4 Responses to “Be The Match supporter pays tribute to dear family friend, Jocy”

  1. Lucinda Seufert-Hunter says:

    So glad to have bought a bracelet that honors someone so special. I’m fortunate to be on the registry for a number of years now and hope to one day be called to donate to someone in need.

    May Jocy’s family always carry her spirit with them.

  2. Tara Lindsay says:

    This story touches my heart in so many ways. As a career nanny, as a three time donor, and as a nanny who lost a child I love to a blood related cancer. My heart goes out to both of Jocy’s families…her family by birth and her family by employment. This bracelet is such a beautiful tribute to the love that can grow between a nanny andca family. I can’t wait to sharethis with the nanny community!

  3. Donna says:

    I have been in the registry for 19 years but unfortunately I have never been a match. I a happy to purchase this jewelry in the hopes that it will give me the opportunity to tell others about the registry. If everyone was in the registry imagine the lives that could be saved!

  4. Shaila Gottlieb says:

    I was blessed to know and love Jocy. She was a true angel on earth. Her love and nurturing spirit absolutely radiated from her and everyone who met her fell instantly in love with her. She was selfless, fun loving and one of the most amazing people I have ever met.
    I think about Jocy every day and try to live my life with the same kind of grace and dignity that defined her.
    I am proud of Lisi for coming up with this great tribute and fundraiser. The bracelets make great gifts, and I wear mine every day with pride. My promises are to keep Jocy’s memory alive and to help bring awareness and funds to BE A MATCH, so that others will find their match and live long healthy lives!

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