Marc next to his wife Debbie, transplant recipient
Now retired, Marc Perlstein was first introduced to Be The Match® while working for his former employer, Concentra, a national health care company. They partnered with the organization by welcoming prospective donors into their medical clinics to do their pre-physical and blood work.
Inspired by the mission, Marc started to get involved in other ways, too. As International President of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, he invited Be The Match representatives to hold a registry drive at their annual summer convention. Many young college-aged students signed up to be potential donors because of those drives. But Marc could have never predicted that one day, out of the blue, his own wife Debbie would end up needing her own life-saving donor.
Close to home
At a regular medical visit, a doctor noticed something in Debbie’s blood and they decided to monitor it. After additional follow-up and further blood work, she was eventually diagnosed with myelofibrosis (MF), a rare blood cancer that affects the bone marrow. Marc and his wife found themselves in need of the very thing Marc had been supporting: a blood stem cell transplant.
Fortunately, they found a selfless matching donor through Be The Match. In November 2021 she received her life-saving transplant. “She’s doing so well now,” says Marc, noting that she’s able to work part-time as a preschool librarian at the same school she taught at for 30 years. And these days she has a few extra special students in the library: her own grandkids. Debbie loves being able to read books to the grandchildren at work.
While Marc and Debbie haven’t met the donor yet, they recently were able to write a letter to the person to say thank you and show just how much the donation meant to them.
Supporting the journey, month after month
While Marc says going through the blood cancer and transplant journey themselves was traumatic, he and Debbie are filled with incredible gratitude. “I got my wife back—she was able to survive and live,” says Marc. “I knew I had to give back.”
Marc has chosen to provide consistent, reliable financial support for Be The Match by becoming one of our monthly sustainers. He wants the funds to help spread awareness of the need for more donors and motivate more people to step up and join the Be The Match Registry®.
“Do a swab and who knows where it will lead to,” he says. “Without this first step of people joining the registry, the rest of it all wouldn’t be possible.”
You can give hope to patients all year long, just like Marc. Start a monthly gift in any amount today and each month you’ll receive a heartwarming story of the lives you’re impacting with your generosity.