“If I Had to do It All Over Again, I Absolutely Would”

Posted August 7th, 2015 by Be The Match and filed in News
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Aaron pic

Aaron, PBSC donor

As told by Aaron, PBSC donor

“When I joined the Be The Match Registry® in 2008, I honestly never thought that I would be someone’s match. About six years later I got a phone call and was told I was 1 of 3 possible matches for someone. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that I found out I was the best match for him.

There was never a doubt in my mind that I would donate. I didn’t know a lot about the recipient at the time, and I still don’t. I just knew he was in his late thirties, the illness he had and that he lived in Germany. But when I got the call, I started thinking about my own family. I was a teenager when my dad was in his late thirties. If my dad needed a transplant, I would have hoped someone would have stepped up to donate, to give him an opportunity for a future with his family.

It honestly took very little effort for me to donate peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) – one of the two methods of donation. I didn’t fully grasp the gravity of what this all meant until a couple months later when I went to a reception with other donors and recipients. I heard all of their stories, and I started thinking about how the guy in Germany who needed a transplant, and I was his donor, for his transplant that probably saved his life. That’s pretty incredible.

It’s been more than a year now since his transplant, and I still think about my recipient and wonder how he’s doing. Germany has a longer waiting period for communicating, so it will still be a while before we can get in touch if he’d like to. It would be pretty cool to meet him!*

Even though I don’t know him and we may never meet, I’m pulling for him and I’m not the only one. I still have friends and family who ask me how he is doing and tell me they think of him.

If I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would. I would do it every week if I needed to. I might not know him, but it feels good to know I helped him.”

*If the donor center allows and both parties consent, a donor and recipient or a recipient’s guardian must still wait one year before they can exchange contact information and meet in person. However, different countries have different waiting requirement policies. Because Aaron’s recipient is from Germany, the waiting requirement is two years.

14 Responses to ““If I Had to do It All Over Again, I Absolutely Would””

  1. Kathleen Newey says:

    Aaron,
    Thank you for sharing . And THANK YOU for donating.. I am a recipient of stem cells . It truly means a lot to all of us that need the stem cells.I knew when I was 21 that I would need it at some point. But I didn’t really think about it. Not until October of 2013 when tests showed that my bone marrow had stopped working. I think I thought I would be in my 60’s or 70’s but I was 50 yrs old.It makes such a difference for people in need. Your being willing is soo sweet to think of others.
    Thanks and May God Bless You For helping us all out..

    Kathy Newey

  2. Brett Salter says:

    Aaron,

    Thank you for sharing your story and for being a donor. I had my transplant 204 days ago and am looking forward to being able to contact and hopefully meet my donor early in 2016.

    My donor is a 23 year old male somewhere in the US. I and my friends and family are amazed at the generosity and selfless ness of the gift he has given me. He has literally saved my life with his donation.

  3. Brian Lemon says:

    Aaron,

    I also donated PBSCs in 2014. My recipient was in the Czech Republic. Last news was that he was producing healthy cells. I think of him often as well.
    I work in healthcare so when I returned from the donation, I began a “marketing campaign” for BTM in our organization. They saw to it that the story went out to all the area media as well. I am ready if needed again, but more registrations needed as well

  4. Lisa K says:

    I love this! I donated bone marrow to a 3 year old little boy in April. He’s a stranger, and I pray I get to hug him one day! I’m 40 years old, with four young sons. How could I even think of not doing this for another little boy?? I was on the donor registry for 22 years before I got “the call”!! It’s an amazing thing! God Bless You and your recipient!

    • Renee Horn says:

      I have been in the list for years as well, and had kind of given up on ever being called. Thank you for sharing, it will keep my hope alive. I want to give so badly, I just think that would be the most amazing thing that I could ever do. My brother had a SCT this year, so I know the greatness it can do.

  5. Becky Ames says:

    Aaron
    My grand-daughter is in CHP right not awaiting her transplant. A wonderful 25 yr old female will give her a gift that no one in our family can. A gift that no drug company can reproduce. A gift that is going to give this little 7 year old her life back. Thank you will never be enough to say to her. Everyone that we know that is praying for our Addi is also praying for her donor. We can’t wait until August 2016 when we can meet the wonderful young woman that is about to give this gift.

  6. Kelly Marre says:

    Thank you for donating Aaron! I am 99 days post transplant. They couldn’t find a bone marrow match for me, but thanks to generous parents in France, I recently bed a double unrelated umbilical cord transplant.

  7. test comment says:

    Great!

  8. Debbie S says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    Next week my husband, Paul, will be celebrating his ONE year anniversary since his stem cell transplant. We are so hoping that the donor will agree to meet so we can personally give thanks for the priceless gift. We are beyond grateful ….

  9. Shelby says:

    God bless you!

  10. Grateful Daughter says:

    Aaron,

    Thank you so much for your donation. My mother received a stem cell transplant about 3.5 years ago, thanks to a wonderful donor (who we did not know, but surprisingly grew up on the same block as my mother during their childhood-small world!!). I was 16, when my mother received the transplant, and I will never ever forget the fear I felt thinking that my mother wouldn’t make it, and the pure happiness and grateful I felt when we had found a match, and hoped that she would be okay again.
    I am part of the registry now, and I truly hope that I can help someone one day, and return the favor as someone did for my mother.

  11. Robert A Chapman says:

    Outstanding story. I went thru a STEM Cell transplant but used my own stem cells. I signed up to be a donor many years ago as I have Crohns Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Short Bowel Syndrome, Prostate Cancer and I just found out I have a small Basal Cell carcinoma that has to be surgically removed. So I am waiting for the other shoe to drop….LOL I have been to hell and back and nothing and I mean nothing is going to stop me or make me feel sorry for myself…. there is always someone worse than me…..Mind over matter: if you don’t mind it don’t matter. After 4 bowel resections, Chemo therapy, Stem Cell transplant and numerous other symptoms and procedures nothing will stop me from rising to every challenge no matter what it is!

    Robert A. Chapman, A real “Crohnie”

  12. William H. Saunders says:

    I am a funeral director and have buried THOUSANDS of people. I know life and I know death. I have met with many families that hope for a miracle BUT nothing happens. I joined the match 20 years ago to help Ian, who lost his battle. This March I donated. To be a miracle is life changing!!! I have made 2 babies! I have had great life! To donate stem cells was an HONOR, AN HONOR, and I would do it again and again tomorrow!!! I think of my recipient often. All I know is he is 73 and all I could think of was a guy who wants more time with his grandkids! I pray for him and wish him well, and his family.
    My sons will be registered when they hit 18. I truly hope they get to experience this! THIS IS LIFE CHANGING!

  13. Diane Giebe says:

    Thank you for donating! I donated marrow last month and it was the best experience of my life. I think of my recipient every day. I just received her first update and she is doing really well which I cried like a baby the rest of the night after hearing. I hope and pray to meet her 1 year from now. I was on the list for 15 years before finally being called at the age of 47. I am ready to donate again if called. My new quest will be to try to organize a drive to make people more aware and get more people to register and commit. Prayers for you and your recipient.

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