Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bone Marrow

A couple of life times ago, way back when I was a freshman at MIT, there was a guy on the swim team that I really looked up to.  His name was Stefan, he was one of the captains, senior, nice to everyone, just top to bottom a great guy.  Anyway, some way or another he had found his way into what was at the time called I think the National Bone Marrow Registry, and some way or another he was a match for somebody and everything just fell into place and he basically just saved a kid's life one random Friday afternoon.  Like, no big deal, no fanfare, no nothing, he just showed up at the meet Saturday morning with bandages on his hips kind of looped out on vicodin, anchored the 4x100 freestyle relay to victory even though our coach didn't want to let him swim and that was sort of the end of it.  Sort of. 

Being a young and impressionable mind I signed up for the registry immediately, giving a blood sample I suppose (although I have zero memory of this event).  Over the years they've managed to keep track of me (when you're running something like that you kind of have to be good at keeping track of people, I suppose), and other than that there wasn't much to tell until this morning, when I got a call from a nice woman at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute telling me I was a preliminary match for a teenager with severe aplastic anemia.  Nothing definite has happened yet, but I filled out a health survey (that I'll pass with flying colors unless they really hold me up for Danielle living in Africa for 8 weeks), and after that apparently will go one of three ways, which are "we need another test", "we found a better match", or "you may have already won!"

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this post, other than it's something very interesting that could be about to happen to me, and to encourage everyone reading to sign up.  I'm no expert, but "lots" of people die from conditions that could be treated (or even cured) by a relatively simple bone marrow transplant.  The more people that are in the registry, the more matches will be found.  And that's just swell.  As for me, I of course feel good about the opportunity to help someone, but I've been curiously emotionless about the whole thing so far.  I guess it's because there really is nothing I can do and no decision that I'll have to make.  I'll either match and do it, or won't and won't.  If everything in life was that simple I'd sure have a lot less stress :)


avoidthe9to5 said...

example set for you
example set for others by you

spectorjon said...

Occasional lurker on your blog, oaks reg.

I was called and told I was a match for someone in the bone marrow registry two years ago. Got the tests, ended up donating stem cells. A little painful for a couple days, but they give you loads of pain meds so it's no big deal.

And karmically, it feels awesome.