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Devoted volunteer couriers continue delivering life-saving cells in times of uncertainty

Laura and Dod Michael’s dedication and commitment to Be The Match® began the day Laura donated her blood stem cells to a cancer patient in need. “We didn’t realize the extent of the network—the volunteers, medical professionals, coordinators—making this life-saving work happen until we saw it firsthand,” Laura says. “We were truly in awe.”

From there, they began working at donor recruitment drives. And in 2011, they became volunteer couriers to deliver life-saving cells to transplant patients across the country. “My first courier trip was on the one-year anniversary of my blood stem cell collection,” Laura shares. Since then, she and Dod have taken a total of 130 trips, about 7.25 trips each per year.

In addition to giving their time, Laura and Dod give to Be The Match financially—both directly and through their estate plan. As Laura sees it, “If you have a disease that can be cured, why wouldn’t you want to support that process?” Working in the pharmaceutical industry, she and Dod have seen a fair number of ineffective drugs and their side effects. But when it comes to marrow transplants, Dod says, “Be The Match provides cures. We’re not still hoping or looking for a cure—it’s here today.”

Even during these challenging times, Laura and Dod remain steadfast on their mission to help Be The Match democratize cell therapy so everyone who needs a cure gets one. Any fears or uncertainty around the global pandemic haven’t hindered their commitment as volunteer couriers. “I have a sense of duty to do it even more now,” Laura explains. “We’re healthy, we don’t have kids, and we have the flexibility to serve.”

They both traveled as recently as mid-March and aside from much emptier flights, their travel has not been impacted. According to Dod, he doesn’t feel any different than he does any time he makes a delivery, “I’m still delivering a chance—a hope—for a patient to get better,” he says. “It’s still just as valuable—every single patient feels special.” Laura adds, “I think about the marrow donors who are donating at this time of uncertainty—I’m so proud of every single person.”

Describing their personal commitment to continue delivering life-saving cells to patients, Laura says, “Bone marrow donations are often the only life-saving option for patients. Being part of an organization that matches selfless donors to patients in need gives us a strong sense of community and hope. And we have a profound sense of responsibility to bring this hope to others because we know that a cure could be possible."

To learn more about supporting Be The Match, email Amy Bigot.