We’ve been honored to be a part of Olivia’s journey through her donor search, transplant recovery—and soon, the moment she meets her donor at the Be The Match®️ Gala.
Meet Olivia – Transplant recipient
In October 2018, Olivia’s mom noticed yellowing in Olivia’s eyes. Doctors determined she had an enlarged liver and she was admitted to the hospital.
Eventually Olivia was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and by the end of December it became clear she would need a blood stem cell transplant to cure her life-threatening blood disorder.
Incredibly, Olivia had not one but several genetically suitable donor matches on the Be The Match Registry®. By May of 2019, Olivia was preparing transplant when her first donor was medically disqualified. Fortunately, her second match said yes. As the transplant date approached, Olivia’s blood counts began to rise, so her transplant was put on hold.
In the spring of 2020, it was determined transplant was now Olivia’s best option for a cure. In June, after a year of being on hold, her donor gave her his marrow—and a second chance at life.
Now two years later, Olivia is off all medication and is living a happy, healthy life. She started kindergarten this fall. She likes to cook and play with friends. Her spirit and personality shine as brightly as her rainbow hair.
Meet Jimmy – Blood stem cell donor
While attending university, Jimmy signed up for the registry in England to support his friend’s fight against blood cancer. Sadly, his friend was unable to find a match and passed away.
In 2019, six years after joining the registry, Jimmy received a call telling him he was a potential match for a young girl. But shortly after, he learned they were going with another donor. That was just the beginning of his donor story.
A few months later, Jimmy was notified that he was needed to donate after all. But then, as he began to prepare for donation, he learned that his recipient’s transplant was put on hold. Wanting to honor his commitment to donate, Jimmy waited until the summer of 2020, when he heard that his recipient was ready for transplant—this time for certain.
Throughout the starts and stops, Jimmy never considered changing his mind about donating. He ended up donating his stem cells in July of 2020 during the height of a COVID-19 surge in London. The family of his friend from university was delighted to know their son’s legacy was potentially saving another patient.
Jimmy will travel to the United States from the United Kingdom to meet Olivia in a heart-warming moment at the Be The Match® Gala.
A Night to Remember
On September 23, 2022 at the Minneapolis Be The Match Gala, Olivia and Jimmy will travel from afar to meet for the first time on stage. The Be The Match Gala will raise funds to help patients cover the costs associated with their journey to, and through, a marrow transplant. A blood stem cell donation from a matching donor can be a cure for diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disorder. However, the financial toll of the treatment journey can be a barrier for many.
Learn more about the event at BeTheMatch.org/Gala.
This year we are excited to provide a hybrid gala experience for our guests to experience our mission come to life from near and far. Tune in on YouTube Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. and witness the long-awaited moment when little Olivia meets her life-changing donor for the very first time. Also, please consider a financial contribution to create more possibilities for patients.