Matched donor reveals family connections and more

Posted June 10th, 2016 by Be The Match and filed in News
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           Jason and BrandonJason Solomon was shocked when he was diagnosed with myelodysplasia (MDS) – often referred to as “pre-leukemia.” He was 59 years old and always healthy.

As a physician, Jason immediately spent time researching options and consulting with experts. Before a year had passed, the disease continued to progress and Jason began exploring bone marrow transplant options, where he found a perfect match on the registry.

 On the other side of the country, a young man, Brandon Perloff, received the news that he was a match for a 59-year old male with a blood cancer.

Brandon had joined the Be The Match registry at a community drive a few years earlier that his mother was supporting. When contacted, Brandon shares, “I was excited! This was a unique opportunity and there was no question I would do it.”

Two weeks prior to Jason’s planned departure to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle for transplant, he caught his finger in a car door and the bleeding did not stop for over a day. Subsequent tests confirmed their worst fears: his MDS had converted to acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

The transplant would now need to be delayed by three to four months in order for chemotherapy treatments to achieve remission prior to transplant.

 On December 23, 2010, Jason was able to undergo his transplant. He clearly remembers the party hat he was given and his nurses singing “Happy Birthday” to celebrate his new birthday.

As the infusion was completed with Brandon’s blood stem cells, Jason was on his way, hopeful for a healthy future with his wife and two adult sons. “I had to let go of planning and embrace a ‘one day at a time’ mindset,” says Jason, “but thinking about the future possibilities was also exciting.”

During the first year of recovery, Jason wondered about his lifesaving marrow donor.

On his one year anniversary of transplant, Jason sent a letter to his donor hoping he would respond. When the coordinator called Jason and gave him Brandon’s name, the two connected and began to realize a miraculous set of coincidences was unfolding.

First, Brandon was from Philadelphia, Jason’s hometown! They later learned that Brandon’s mom had gone to the same high school with Jason, just one year behind him and had memories of attending gatherings together. Jason had also met Brandon’s dad at Temple University 40 years before when both were undergraduates studying. A cadre of elementary school friends would come into focus as they delved further into the past culminating with Brandon’s godmother, a close family friend, was actually Jason’s first cousin!

 Now celebrating five years of a new lease on life, Jason smiles in amazement at all that has transpired and the connection he and Brandon share. Jason marvels, “You just never know. Join the registry. Be The Match. Save a life. Meet a relative!”

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58 Responses to “Matched donor reveals family connections and more”

  1. Jennifer Sawle says:

    What a great story! Dr. Soloman is a friend of my father’s in Sacramento and to hear this story is truly amazing. You never know who you will meet through this entire process. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Maureen Leuba says:

    Congratulations! What a wonderful story! I’m thrilled that my donor is flying out from California in two weeks to spend time with me and my family in Illinois. She donated her stem cells to me (as an unrelated donor) while she was in college, and I was 48 (with three boys ages 9, 13 and 15 at the time) I received my stem cell transplant 3 1/2 years ago for an AML diagnosis and am incredibly blessed and grateful to her (and Be The Match) for saving my life. I feel like she is part of our family now ❤️ Wishing you many more happy and healthy years!

  3. Kimberly Shields says:

    What an amazing story – it gave me chills! Best wishes for many years of good health Dr. Soloman! I’ve been registered with Be the Match since 1993 (shortly after my Mom passed away at 50 from her five year battle with multiple myeloma). And it is my hope that one day I will be a match for someone in need and can provide them with hope – and the gift of life! Thank you for sharing!

    • Marie Rudenstein says:

      Dear Kim,
      Your comment on the Be the Match webpage touched me because I have been in the registry also since 1993 and my mother also passed away from multiple myeloma after a five year remission. I was much luckier though cause Mama was nearly 88. I can’t imagine losing her 38 years ealier ! I am sorry. Now, I have a dear cousin who has MDS and who I might be a “half” match for should he need a stem cell transplant. I would do it for a stranger let alone a loved relative. Take care.

  4. Marjorie Harris says:

    What a wonderful story!

  5. Marjorie Harris says:

    What a wonderful story! So happy for Dr. Solomon, Brandon, and their families.

  6. Christine Henning says:

    What a wonderful story. I continually try to reach people by sharing stories like this. I would love to reach people who will actually sign up. My son had a transplant almost two years ago. They were able to use his own stemcells and we are so thankful. I will continue to share these stories and hope and pray that someday someone will be able to share their cells.

  7. Barry Manin says:

    Brandon is and always has been an amazing
    human being. Love this kid! I am not surprised
    by his generosity and sensitively….
    Love you man?
    Uncle Barry

  8. Josh L says:

    Great story. Not surprising that there is some remote genetic connection since they were a match for Bonne marrow too. But it definitely illustrates the need to register (especially minority groups!).

    • Ana says:

      I am a minority, and joined a couple of months ago!! I can’t wait to be someone’s match 🙂 and always encourage my friends to join be the match

  9. Arlene A. Clemick says:

    Loved this story. I’ve been a member of the registry since 1989. Sadly, I have not been a match and I will be “aging out” in September. I encourage everyone to join this registry.

    • Jeanne M. Cartier says:

      This is the same for me. I have been registered since the early ’90’s and have not been a match and will age out soon. I am sad that I couldn’t help, but I’m happy it wasn’t because I didn’t try. Registering is so important!

      • billie says:

        ill age out soon also and have not been a match.

        • Heather says:

          Hey, all! What does ‘aging out’ mean? Is it relayed to physical age or length of time in the registry?

          • Peggi L says:

            As far as I know…Be The Match moves donors to the inactive list once they reach their 61st birthday.

      • Peggi L says:

        I am in my final year to ‘be a match’ and realize if there are any younger donors with my same ‘type’ they will be called before I will. Like all of you, I am happy to have been on the list for as many years as I have.

        • Sue D says:

          I’ve only got a few years left until I age out as well. I have been registered since the late 80’s or early 90’s, due to a need by a young girl in my community, and a drive at that time. Wasn’t a match then, but was called a couple years after as a potential match for someone else unrelated. Even though I was pregnant at the time, I still underwent further testing, only to find out that I was not a match.

          Six years after that, my sister was diagnosed with AML, and I was tested again and was a “half match related” and would have been her donor if her chemo treatments were able to get her into remission. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and she passed away 3 months after diagnosis at 41 years young.

          I would be happy to be able to help someone else in need, but have not had that opportunity yet.

      • Chris Baca says:

        I know, I have been registered for a long time as well. I would love to be a part of a miracle and save a life, such as the ones described on the Be The Match registry. I encourage everyone to sign up because you never know when you might be in need.

  10. Brenda Cullum says:

    Thanks for sharing…..I hope to be a match for someone one day!

  11. Donna Hi says:

    Great story. Hoping for the best outcome and continued good health. I was a donor 6 years ago and have developed a wonderful relationship with my recipient. She lives in Germany, so we have not met, but share pictures, letters, and our daily life adventures. This has made my life so much fuller and someday I hope we will meet. I encourage everyone to become a donor, it is so worth the little it takes to share.

  12. Rick Freeman says:

    There is nothing more uplifting than to be able to read something so amazing. This world needs more positivity like this. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  13. Robyn Crossman says:

    This makes my heart so happy.

  14. Amber O'Shields says:

    Thanks for sharing! Such an amazing story! I hope to someday be a match!

  15. Douglas says:

    I watched my father die a horrible death to AML/CML in 1994. 2 years later my son Micah was diagnosed with ALL. 20 years later he is a healthy 25 year old.

    I registered in the database in 2006. I am waiting for the email/phone call to be a match. I cannot wait!


  16. Mike E says:

    I have watched an aunt & uncle pass away from blood disorders as a little child prior to the great medical research & Dr’s that have been involved in the latest & greatest methods of delivery. I hope to some day get the call for me to be able to help someone fight the fight for life .

  17. Gwen says:

    I don’t know why I have never been called for my bone marrow. However, I have donated blood,platelets, or whatever was needed at the moment. I always feel good after my donation. I know I have helped save a life. I am so excited knowing what I did.

  18. Taralyn says:

    My mother was diagnosed with MDS in 2013 and later diagnosed with AML in 2014. Sadly, she did not win her battle, but I continue to be touched by the donor who was waiting for her to become healthy enough for the transplant. Since then, I have been a part of the registry.

    Stories like yours touch me because I know that it is because of selflessness and bravery that people with blood cancer have the potential to have a second chance at life. Thank you!

  19. Genny says:

    What a wonderful story! As I read this story, tears came to my eyes and I am so happy for these two men and their families. I pray that I will someday be called to be a bone marrow donor and “be a match”.

  20. Jan Z says:

    Reading Jason and Brandon’s story gave me goose bumps. What a wonderful outcome all around, so happy for you!

    Receiving the phone call that you are a match is one of the most thrilling life events one can experience. I registered in November, 2000 and received my call in February 2001 for an anonymous recipient. My harvest was scheduled for 09/13/01, which after the events of 9/11 left air traffic at a standstill and my product needed to be flown *somewhere.* Somehow the stars aligned and someone was able to charter a plane, and our procedures went as scheduled. My story doesn’t have quite the happy ending as Jason and Brandon’s but would I donate again? In a heartbeat! To have been able to help a stranger during that most tragic of national times was powerful. People, sign up! It will change your life, in a really good way.

  21. Diane Segafredo says:

    Great story! I have been on the Registry since 1995. I had a call in December for a 4 your old girl. I ended being a perfect match and was certainly willing to do what ever it takes to help. Unfortunately things did not work out for her to receive my Stem cells. However it made my heart joyful to be called. I let my adult children know that this is something that I would do for them and my grandchildren in hopes if they ever needed this there would be someone who would do the same. I work in Cancer Research and see all too often how important it is for doners, and when they are not available. For everyone one out there PLEASE join the Registry. What better gift then to give life to a complete stranger! Keep up the good work.

  22. Deb Porter-Jones says:

    This is awesome! I actually joined the registry about a month before my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. It’s been five years since his death and I’m still waiting to be matched up. To be able to give back in such a way would give me so much joy. God bless you all.

  23. Carol Ciaramitaro says:

    What a wonderful story!! I have been on the registry for several years and almost had the opportunity to donate. I went through the screening and blood donation but in the end there may have been a better match. My mother has multiple myeloma although she is in her eighties and thus isn’t eligible for bone marrow transplant. I hope one day to be able to help someone in need of this life saving therapy. Until then, I will continue to donate funds and pray for those afflicted with blood cancers.

  24. Stuart says:

    Like others here, I will age out later this year. Also like everyone else here, I would be happy to give if I can help someone else. The only thing that would make me happier would be to hear the registry was closing down because it was no longer needed. I doubt I will see that in my lifetime but as long as good people like those highlighted in this article are around, the hopes for a cure for the many lives this registry helps will live on.

  25. Marguerite says:

    We also have a great match story. My husband was matched with his sister thru the database, before my husband asked her to be tested. The transplant process was textbook and he was doing very well. Unfortunately the AML came back and he passed away ten months after the transplant.

    I’ve been in the database for at least 10 years and hope to be able to donate some day with a positive outcome.

  26. Linda says:

    It sure does my heart good to hear such a beautiful story. It’s amazing the connections that can be made! I was fortunate enough to donate stem cells in September 2012 to a man with ALL. It was an international donation but, unfortunately, with no chance to ever connect. I think about him a lot, wondering if it was successful, if he lived through the process, how he’s doing, etc. The stories I read here of people connecting really helps me think positively. Thanks.

  27. Jackie says:

    Truly a small world after all. I hope to be a match for someone it would be the biggest gift I could ever give anyone.

  28. Patricia V. says:

    I was a match for a 10 year old girl in 2013 at the time I got the call I had just lost my job so I said No.

    After the call I thought; How crazy is the Universe that on the same day you lose your job you get a call from Be The Match after being on the Registry for 19 years. It took me all of 5 minutes to call back and say yes because this was not a chance event. This was meant to be. This was not a Coincidence. So, I donated on March 3 2014. We are a Happy 2nd Birthday. I had the chance of meeting my Donor Child in August 2015 in Birmingham Alabama. We chat often and send each other positive text messages everyday.

  29. Laura M says:

    I am in the registry because I’m a big believer in blood donation and organ donation. Since we don’t know my mom’s birth line (she was adopted) I hope that I can help someone who didn’t know they had more relatives out there. My dad has CLL, so I’ve offered blood parts for those who need them. I’m AB+ so not a lot of use for my whole blood.

  30. Donna Bowen says:

    I have been on the registry since the mid 90’s and have matched not 1 but 2 people. One passed the day before the transplant and the other although I was told I was the chosen match after a multitude of test the transplant was never took place. I remain on the registry in hopes of being able to help someone one day but what would be the odds for me to match a third person?

  31. Ivelisse Rivera says:

    This story reminded me so much my husband. We found out about his cancer when he cut his hand building a shed and the cut didn’t stop bleeding for at least 1/2 to 1 hour. This happened 21 years ago. And he still with us. 🙂
    Bless the people that agree to give a second chance to others. We were lucky, as his younger brother was 100% match.
    God Bless you all

  32. Ja says:

    I joined the registry nearly 8 years ago in support of one of my students as I was the school Principal. I too, like others, hope to be a match for someone one day. Thanks for sharing the story

  33. Jimmy Mabry says:

    Have been on the donor list for 16 years did not realize I would age out. What is the age to no longer be accepted as a donor?

  34. Sandra G. says:

    What a fantastic story!

    My husband Carlos recently donated bone marrow to an 11 yr old child. We pray daily for his full recovery and to one day meet the recipient.

    My husband never gave it a second thought about going through with it. He had an easy recovery and said it was not painful at all, contrary to what I read online. My husband said he would gladly donate again if the chance ever came.

    We both joined the registry in 1999.

    Thank you “Be the Match” for every life you save!!

  35. Rick M says:

    Great story. I too have been on the registry since the nintys I believe and will age out in a couple years. Hope people continue to join to give others a second chance.

  36. Michelle Peterson says:

    What a great story!!
    I have been on the registry since the early 90’s and have been waiting to help someone and have a similar story.

    Congratulations to you and your family.?

  37. Julie Teuber says:

    I have been on the donor registry for a long time. I was once considered a match for someone and after further evaluations, it was found that another person was a closer match. I was so excited to get to that point and dissapointed I wasn’t chosen but also very thankful that another better match was found. I have around 7 more years until I age out and will remain a steady standby should the call ever come my way again. This is about lives. It may seem about a life, but the effects change many other lives as a result, and that impacts history that is being written daily. May more people sign up so there are many more opportunities to add chapters to other’s and our own stories.

  38. Jennifer Cummings says:

    What a wonderful story!

    I have been on the registry for over 20 years, just waiting for the chance! I joined in honor of my brother, Kevin, who died from leukemia in 1971, at the age of 4. I can’t help thinking that if the technology we have now had been available then, he might still be in my life today, instead of being my Guardian Angel.

    So, I keep my information updated and keep waiting and hoping I’ll get the chance to be a part of a miracle!

  39. John S says:

    Bone marrow donation is a strange thing. I donated for an 11 year old boy in 1991 and never heard from him or the family. Three months later I woke up bolt upright and knew something was wrong. I called my local donor coordinator and asked her for news of my recipient. She told me he had just died. Spooky. I think it’s important for both sides to reach out. I felt that I was well prepared for the physical side of the donation, but not for the psychological / spiritual side. Opening up the door to “You can save a life!” is fine, but the same door also opens to “Your best effort might fail to save a life.” I don’t regret it for a second, and would do it again in a heartbeat if asked. I’ve urged 25 years worth of my students to get on the Registry and to donate blood products so patients have more choices. But “God answers all prayers but sometimes She says no.”

  40. Bruce Howe says:

    I am a three-year survivor of MDS. My donor from is from Florrisant, Missouri. We have met twice. He donated his stem cells through Be the Match and saved my life. I am alive today thanks to my Andy! Love you, young man!

  41. Sharon Petricca says:

    God only ask that we love and serve one another!!! You do Him proud! God bless all who give of themselves and Godspeed to all in need!! Prayers for all!

  42. Elisha Roy says:

    This is a great story with a happy ending! I love to hear great news like this. 🙂

    I have been registered for many years eagerly waiting for a call to help someone. I didn’t know there was a cut off age. Does anyone know what the cut off age is to donate?

  43. c wilhelm says:

    I’m so sad, I have B- very rare blood type, I was a match for a child, but couldn’t donate due to hypothyroid. I’m so healthy, but…. I hope he found another Match.

  44. Sherrie Jones says:

    I have 3 more years before I fall into the “age-out” category. I also have been waiting to match someone and give the gift of life. In the meantime I am a blood donor, plasma, platelets etc. My 33 year old nephew is fighting Brikitt’s lymphoma and his life is literally being saved by blood donors!! Consider this life saving gift while you wait to match a patient in need!

  45. LuAnn says:

    Been registered since my youngest niece’s godfather had blood cancer as her godmother I wanted her to have chance to know him…wasn’t a match for him or the other people we were doing the drive for but know that the more people who are registered more chances someone needing a match will have.

  46. Carla Brown says:

    This blog is so uplifting. It’s great to hear of those who have been helped and those who helped others through selfless donations. I am still struggling with the loss of my dad 3 years ago after a 2 year battle with MDS. He was considered too old at 75 for a bone marrow transplant, but blood donations at least helped to extend his battle. I too hope to be able to help someone before I age out whenever that date is. In the meantime, I will continue to help others with blood donations.

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