Meet An Advocate: Jeff Haertling, St. Charles, MO

Posted December 17th, 2013 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, News
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Jeff and Kim photoJeff Haertling had a certain person in mind when he joined the Be The Match Registry® in the fall of 2007. The daughter of a friend had been diagnosed with leukemia. Jeff hoped to be the matching donor who could save the girl’s life. But in the end, no match could be found for his friend’s daughter, and she passed away in 2008.

In 2009, Jeff got another chance to save someone’s life—this time, a stranger’s. It started with an unexpected call from the registry: Jeff was a perfect match for a 16-year-old girl battling acute lymphocytic leukemia. She desperately needed his marrow.

Jeff didn’t hesitate. He donated his marrow on Oct. 20, 2009 to save Kim Christensen’s life. On her 18th birthday, Jeff finally got to meet his “mini me” and Kim finally got to meet her “parts department.”

“Aside from having kids, this has been the most important and rewarding thing I’ve done in life,” Jeff said.

He’s since become a passionate advocate for Be The Match®, contributing to nearly every aspect of the organization. He is a volunteer Be The Match courier, helping to safely transport potentially life-saving cells from the donor’s location to the recipient’s location. He is also co-chair of the St. Louis Be The Match Walk+Run, and a member of the Consumer Advocacy Committee for CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), a research program of Be The Match. Additionally, Jeff regularly hosts donor registry drives in the St. Louis area.

Last July, Jeff traveled to Capitol Hill with Kim and Be The Match representatives and advocates. There, they met with federal legislators and urged them to continue vital congressional funding for the organization.

“Being able to save someone else’s life has dramatically changed my life as well,” Jeff said. “Today, my goal is to spread the word about Be The Match, so more people can beat blood cancer and thrive like Kim.”

One Response to “Meet An Advocate: Jeff Haertling, St. Charles, MO”

  1. Sherri says:

    Jeff,
    What is so wonderful besides how you helped this young lady, is how you let it change you, and are so passionately an advocate for this organization and what it does.. You are truly inspirational!

    Sincerely,
    Mom of Daughter
    who received BMT

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