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Shelley’s dad got a second chance and now she’s paying it forward

When time is all that matters

“Harold was the kind of person who would make everyone smile, no matter what he was going through,” recalls Shelley, Harold’s daughter.

Harold spent several years battling a variety of illnesses that eventually lead to a diagnosis of leukemia. Although doctors knew that the only cure for Harold would be a blood stem cell transplant, they bought time through other therapies so that he could regain strength. In 2013, time was up, and Harold couldn’t wait any longer to receive new blood stem cells.

Like most patients, Harold would need to receive the healthy blood stem cells from a complete stranger. Fortunately, a near perfect match was found for him on the Be The Match Registry®. At the time, all that Harold knew about his match was that she was a female in her 20’s with a recent tattoo. This last piece of information was important since donors with recent tattoos must wait a certain period of time before donating.

With his marrow match found and committed to give her cells, Harold received his transplant in 2013. For a while, he seemed to be recovering well. He even went home, and things returned to ‘normal’ for a little bit. But, almost two years after his transplant, Harold got sick again and passed away in May of 2015.

Although he is missed dearly, Harold’s daughter is grateful for the extra time she got to spend with her dad. She is also grateful for her relationship with Harold’s marrow donor, Elizabeth. The two are still in-touch today and have even learned that Elizabeth and Harold were distant cousins.

Shelley continues to support Be The Match® in honor of her dad, so that more patients like him have a chance to receive their cure, too. She has been a Be The Match sustainer for more than three years and she even joined the registry to be someone else’s potential match.