When Peter was diagnosed with myelofibriosis in January 2014, he and his family instantly turned to Be The Match.
“That fateful day … doctors told me there was no cure other than a bone marrow transplant,” he said. “Be The Match almost immediately found a perfect match, which was a big relief.”
With the support of his wife, Jane, and daughters, Katie and Jen, Peter had his transplant in August 2014.
“My wife is a saint,” he said. “She drove me to every doctor’s appointment, visited me in the hospital daily and made sure our house was prepared for a transplant patient. It would have been extremely difficult to go through this without her.”
After five weeks in the hospital, Peter went home to continue his recovery. Several months after his return, the family got the exciting news that Katie was a match for patient in need.
“I signed up to join the registry after my dad was diagnosed,” she said. “I felt very lucky to be asked to give, especially so soon after my dad’s transplant.”
As Katie neared her December 2015 donation, she said the support from her fiancé, Erik, her family and friends helped her prepare.
“My parents were so excited and proud that I was able to give another family the same gift of life that our family received just a year before,” she said. “Knowing how scared I am of needles, my fiancé sat with me and held my hand for each of the filgrastim injections.”
Despite some nerves, Katie said she felt strongly about being a committed donor.
“I never had second thoughts,” she said. “I kept thinking about my dad’s donor. If they would have backed out, my dad wouldn’t be here today and there was no way I would put another family in that position.”
On the day of her donation, Katie said she had her ultimate inspiration by her side – her father.
“Be The Match sent my dad out to spend the day with me,” she said. “”Compared to everything a transplant patient goes through, the discomfort of the donation process is very minimal and it is so worth it to save a life.”
With Peter back to a reduced work schedule as he continues recovery and Katie donating to help a patient in need, the family said their lives are forever changed from experiencing both the patient and donor sides of marrow transplant.
“I appreciate modern medicine even more than ever,” Peter said. “And the people who dedicate their lives to it.”
For Katie, first being the daughter of a transplant recipient and then a donor herself has left her inspired to continue supporting Be The Match.
“Joining the registry is so easy – there is really no reason not to do it,” Katie said. “There is the chance that you will be lucky enough to be a lifesaver, and that is the best gift you could ever give anyone.”
To join the Registry as a potential marrow donor visit: join.bethematch.org