I registered in 2006. Six years later, I received a call from Lois from donor registry in Hawaii, who sounded like she was calling to tell me I just won a million dollars. Little did I know at the time that the experience I was about to have would change my life more than a million dollars ever could.
From this conversation, I found out I was a possible match for this patient who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is a form of leukemia that is common in children. I am the father of two young boys and just knowing that I could possibly be helping a child made the decision to go forward with the process, a “no brainer”.
The very next day, I went down to the registry for my first blood draw and had the opportunity to meet Lois and the staff face-to-face. After going through physicals and blood draws to ensure that I was the best match for this patient, the day of the bone marrow harvest arrived. One of my sons and my wife accompanied me to the hospital and waited for me.
The harvest itself only took about an hour and a half and the only thing I remember was the doctor in the operating room saying, “Now take a deep…” the next thing I knew, I woke up in the recovery room. I was then transferred to a hospital room where my family met me. I was told that once I could walk, I could be released.
After resting for a bit and eating a little, I started walking around the hospital floor. Aside from feeling like my butt was bruised from a hard fall, there was virtually no pain; just a tight pressure in the harvest area making sitting down uncomfortable. This discomfort lasted about a day or two. The only side effect I had was the inability to stop eating!!
In all honesty, after looking back at this entire experience from that very first phone call from Lois to now, I would do it all over again if given the chance. The possibility of saving someone’s life, and the people I met through this entire journey, made all the blood draws, the physicals, the surgery and the recovery, an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
More people like Bradley are needed to join the registry, so more patients can find their match. To join the registry visit my.bethematch.org/s/join.