Sean is no stranger to giving. As the founder and director of a non-profit organization focused on helping young adults, Sean’s generosity extends beyond his community. In 2012, Sean joined the Be The Match Registry® hoping to match a coworker in need of a marrow transplant.
Although he was not a match for his coworker, Sean remained inspired by the thought of helping others. He didn’t hesitate when asked to donate marrow two years later to an eight-year old girl – a stranger.
Despite being supportive of his decision to donate, Sean’s family was hesitant: they were concerned the procedure would be very painful. But to Sean, the potential pain was not an issue. “Can you imagine what this little girl [patient] and her family are going through every day? If donation hurts, that’s fine. Hurting is nothing.”
Sean’s positive attitude accompanied him on donation day, too. He describes the donation process as “simple,” and felt the most difficult part of the experience was waking up early to arrive at the hospital by 4:45 a.m.
After the procedure, Sean found it slightly uncomfortable to sit down and experienced a small stomachache and headache from the anesthetic. But this didn’t stop Sean from donating a second time.
Ready to Help a Second Time
Some transplant recipients may need additional blood, marrow, or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donations to boost his or her recovery. In these cases, donors may be asked to consider making an additional donation.
While being asked to donate a second time for the same patient is uncommon, Sean was one of the three percent of donors that encountered this request. So, four months later, when Sean was asked to donate PBSC (the other method of donation) to the same young patient, he didn’t hesitate.
It’s important to remember that every donor’s experience is different. Some donors, like Sean, say the experience is less painful than they expected, while some report more pain and others report no pain at all.
Sean’s Commitment Still Holds Strong
After recovery, Sean has continued to give his time to Be The Match®. He participated in the 2014 Columbus Walk+Run and hosted a donor recruitment event, adding 40 people to the Be The Match Registry®. He plans to host several online events to encourage more people to register.
“Donation is about being able to help someone through a selfless act,” Sean said. “It helps the transplant recipient have a fighting chance, and to continue to have time with their family and friends.”
Sadly, this April, Sean learned that the little girl he donated to passed away. “Still,” he says, “sharing my experience is important to me, with the hope that it will inspire even one person to join the registry.”