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.