About a month ago, I shared with you about being a possible bone marrow donor. This would be for a 25 year old young lady with a form of leukemia. I named her “Texas” because that is where the office that contacted me is located. I thought she was also located in Texas but it turns out that might not be the case.
When a person submits a blood sample or a swab test, they are able to pull two markers in the initial testing. In rough terms this would be similar to identifying a person’s blood type, only much more complicated because it is closer to trying to match DNA. With these two basic markers, they are able to scan the database of more than 11 million potential donors.
Since I was a match on those first two markers, I was contacted to see if I was still interested in being a potential donor. Of course I was definitely interested and consented to further testing of my blood that they had frozen and stored. This testing would identify additional markers to see if I truly am a match for “Texas.”
I have said a prayer everyday that if I am not a match that “Texas” might still find some kind of treatment that would help her live a longer, healthier life. It’s been tough waiting and wondering if I am a match.
Well, the wait has ended. I was phoned today with an update. Unfortunately, it was not good news. Lisa from the National Marrow Registry phoned this morning.
“Texas” did not make it and passed away.
Lisa may as well have told me a family member passed away. I immediately began crying. It just wasn’t fair! Why did this young lady have to die?!
I sat with that information for a while as I drove to a doctor appointment and as I sat alone getting a treatment. It occurred to me that there might be multiple reasons for my crying. I really needed to sort this out. Was I crying because I was sad this young lady had died? Or, was I crying because I wasn’t given the opportunity to help someone is such a huge way?
To be honest, it was likely a combination of the two.
As an educator, I know I have had an impact on other’s lives but I haven’t been able to see the results with the vast majority of my students. Here, my impact could have been HUGE. How much bigger can it get than to give another a healthier life and more years on earth?! Not only that, I might have had the opportunity to know the positive results by communicating with “Texas,” even if it had been anonymously.
I’m ashamed to say that I felt a little robbed that that opportunity was taken from me by her death. I admit I had this selfish thinking. It’s important for me to know this about myself and to acknowledge it. I’m sure others have had similar feelings at times.
Along with my selfish thoughts does come a great sadness for “Texas” and her family. To lose someone so young really is not fair. I’m sure she had many hopes and dreams that were stripped away from her. I will continue my daily prayers for her family.
I am not certain if I was a match after all. I just know that her health did not allow for us to get to that stage. But, as Lisa pointed out, “Texas” might be saving someone else’s life because of her own. Because the extra testing will result in having more markers to compare with me, it is more likely that I could be a match for someone in the future.
If you are the praying kind, I ask that you lift “Texas” and her family up in your prayers.
And, please, consider registering as a potential donor or consider supporting the cause in some other fashion. Visit Be the Match’s website (http://bethematch.org/Support-the-Cause/) and learn about joining the registry, donating financially or donating cord blood of your soon-to-be-born baby.