In 2005 Ted Ave Lallemant’s life turned a direction he wasn’t planning on when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Doctors informed Ted that this type of cancer would require a marrow transplant for him to survive. Before Ted could receive a transplant he needed to enter into remission, which took a little bit, but thankfully he did and was able to move towards transplant.
A match was found and a transplant date was set. Ted remembers that before the transplant, his doctor suggested he receive a second opinion at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Ultimately Seattle was chosen as the place where he would receive his new cells, from a man in San Antonio. The cells engrafted and Ted returned home in January of 2006 to continue with the healing process. Now, more than 16 years later, Ted and his donor continue their friendship and see each other once a year.
Deciding to be a Peer Connect Program with Be The Match
Back when Ted was diagnosed with ALL, there was zero information on his diagnosis.
“I live in a small town so there wasn’t a ton of information. I looked on the internet for information as well but there wasn’t much,” he said.
After his transplant he was online and saw a way he could get connected with Be The Match. He remembers calling and speaking with some staff in the Patient Services department. When he let them know what he wanted to do, he was amazed to learn they were starting a volunteer program that would fit perfectly with what he wanted.
“I remember going to Minneapolis with a small group of about 15 or so people from across the nation to start it off,” he said.
Ted continues to enjoy volunteering in the Peer Connect Program because it is a chance for him to connect with others who are going through the process.
Some conversations, he said, are quick but some are continuous. It is such an important piece in the journey—to be able to connect with someone that has gone through what you [patient] is going through.
Ted’s greatest memory as a volunteer
Ted’s greatest memory is the early stages of the Peer Connect Program. Being a part of the initial group that met in Minneapolis and helping pioneer the program.
To date, there are over 90 Peer Connect mentors who each continue to share their story and walk alongside both caregivers and patients who are going through the process.
Request a connection
If you’re struggling with your transplant recovery, you are not alone. No matter where you are in the transplant process and recovery, and whether you’re a transplant recipient or caregiver, the Patient Support Center can connect you to one or our Navigators. .
Learn more about the Patient Support Centerto get connected with a Navigator.