A little more than two years ago, my boyfriend, Zac, joined the Be The Match Registry® in hopes to be a match for a family member who was in need of a marrow transplant. Unfortunately, he was not a match, but luckily that didn’t end his journey with Be The Match.
Several months later, Zac got a call from Be The Match explaining that he was a match for a patient in need of a marrow transplant. The patient had a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
Without a single doubt, Zac said yes and started his amazing journey to becoming a marrow donor. However, Zac’s journey was far from normal. He decided not to tell a soul about this amazing and selfless act of agreeing to be a patient’s marrow donor. He kept it a secret for months; neither his parents, his brother, nor I (his girlfriend) knew. Months passed by, still, no one knew.
Prior to the start of his journey, Zac moved to Florida temporarily for work from North Carolina, where his family and I reside. I received a call from him one day a few months after his move and after his discovery of being a match, and he explained that he had a surprise for me. He was flying me down to Florida for five days so we could spend some time together. He told me he had so much planned for us and tons of surprises. Automatically, I thought we were heading out to the West Coast of Florida to fish (this was our favorite activity to do together).
The trip came along quickly. Upon my arrival in Florida and meeting up with Zac, we had lunch together. At lunch, he asked me if I wanted to know what my surprises were for the weekend — of course I said yes! He then proceeded to tell me that he was donating marrow the next day and that we were leaving in thirty minutes to go to the hospital to complete the necessary blood work.
“Wow,” I thought. I was in complete shock. He went on to tell me what was going to happen the next day, why I was there and our itinerary for the next 72 hours. Nerves were shaken, questions were raised and prayers were prayed for a smooth recovery.
His surgery followed and everything went as planned. Zac did great. He was an ideal patient in the doctor’s eyes, and an amazing man of mine. Soon after surgery, Zac called both of his parents to tell them what he had done and that he was doing well. The shock continued, tears fell, everlasting love was given and hope for a man with a life-threatening disease was gained.
I was so honored to be part of this special day in Zac’s life. It was not only a life-changing day for him, but a life-changing day for me. We both knew, as a couple, that this would change our lives indefinitely. His marrow donation date will forever be engraved in our hearts as the day Zac saved a man’s life that he had never met. He received notification in the following months that the patient he donated to was doing great. We hope to be able to meet his match in the following year. How amazing is that?
Since Zac’s donation, our mission has been to get involved with Be The Match and encourage others to join the registry so they can experience the satisfaction that Zac had after donating. I even got involved as a Be The Match Community Engagement Intern in the Charlotte area.
Zac and I are both extremely thankful to have had such an amazing organization like Be The Match, to organize, support and captivate us. Helping blood cancer patients find hope is beyond worthwhile. Our lives are forever changed.