Why did you start volunteering with Be The Match?
Macy Howarth understands all too well the importance of advocating for patients and the need for individuals to join the Be The Match registry. At 39 she faced the difficult diagnosis of Leukemia and also found out that she would need a bone marrow transplant to save her life. Suddenly she went from having a normal life with her 2-year-old daughter and husband to stepping into the reality of cancer and beginning the search to find her bone marrow donor.
And her doctors did. She was fortunate to find her match – someone she had never met – but was her perfect match. And the transplant was successful. Now, 7 years later, Macy is a passionate Advocacy Ambassador for Be The Match and works to make sure others have the same access to transplant that she did. Her work in D.C. with the other Advocacy Ambassadors is critical.
When asked why she volunteers, Macy says, “I always question why this happened to me. But I look at my volunteer work and I see the silver lining. I am helping others who are going through this daunting process.”
What is one of your favorite memories so far of being an Advocacy Advisor for the New England area?
“The transplant experience can be incredibly isolating. One of the benefits of this volunteer work is that I have met such an incredible cohort of fellow survivors that I don’t feel alone.”
Macy, like so many of our Advocacy Ambassadors, is part of a team of fellow survivors, family members, caregivers and so much more, who are passionate about speaking to elected officials about Be The Match and why every searching patient should be able to find their match. “A year before the pandemic we went to D.C. and I sat alongside fellow transplant recipients as well as searching patients, caregivers, and couriers. When I was going through my transplant I felt like I was the only person. Now I have a community of friends, peers,” she says.
What keeps you motivated to volunteer?
Giving back is what keeps Macy as active as she is as an Ambassador. She wants to make sure that everyone has the same access to transplant like she had. She understands that she was fortunate in finding a match but she knows that others aren’t as fortunate. You can tell, in just a minute of speaking with her, that she has turned what was one of the hardest moments in her life into something positive. It fuels her forward in her advocacy work.