“The pain for me was only temporary. Think about the patient”

Posted August 17th, 2017 by Be The Match and filed in News
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Marrow Donor Aja-Rei

Marrow Donor, Aja-Reigh, with her Dad, Arthur

Aja-Reigh loves tacos, action movies, singing along with Beyoncé–and helping people. “My mom would always tell me that it is important for people to care for each other.” That’s what motivated her to join the registry in 2013. A year later, she got the call she was a match for a 13-year-old boy with sickle cell disease. She was filled with joy and eager to move forward. Her family was excited for her, but were worried it was going to hurt. “I reminded them to think about the patient. The pain for me was only temporary,” said Aja-Reigh.

It was lucky for Justin, her transplant recipient, that Aja-Reigh felt that way. His ethnic background (Guatemalan and Jamaican) made his chances of finding a match very slim, and for many patients like him, the wait to find a match can be long and uncertain.

She and Justin met for the first time in May 2017 at Be The Match’s New York Soiree, inspiring tears of joy from the crowd. The funds raised at the event help increase the ethnic diversity of the registry, ensuring that more patients like Justin can find a donor when they need it.

Looking back, Aja-Reigh has this advice for other donors: “Don’t let other people discourage you. Think about the recipient. If you have something that could potentially save a life, why not donate it?”

2 Responses to ““The pain for me was only temporary. Think about the patient””

  1. Debbie Pellegrino says:

    Such a worthwhile cause, blessing to all who are impacted by this terrible disease.

  2. SIDNEY E POST says:

    Having European ancestry, my chances of matching someone in need is much higher than many other ethnic groups. With cultural issues surrounding organ donation and burial rights in general within many communities, it saddens me to see people suffer from medical issues that could be solved with organ and bone marrow donations. In addition to bone marrow and organ donations, blood plasma and platelets are other ways to help those in need.

    Like Aja-Reigh, I had coworkers, friends and, family that expressed various concerns about organ donation, bone marrow donation, and apheresis donations (blood, plasma and, platelets) but, I haven’t let that deter me. I know my blood products have helped 100’s of people and someday, if I get the call, I hope to do that same for someone in need of my bone marrow. I want to personally prove the concerns, fears and, doubts expressed by many people in my life are unfounded and unwarranted.

    Best wishes for all those in need. I hope you find your match.

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