After the donation

Donor Diaries

Hear the stories of DKMS bone marrow and blood stem cell donors who went above and beyond to give patients a second chance at life.


will kerr donor

Nearly 8 years later, I had forgotten I registered to be a potential lifesaver with a few friends on the campus of University of Texas Austin. So when I got the call, I thought it was spam. But they emailed me and called again. I admit I was a little hesitant at first; I mean why now? But I did my research, spoke with my family & friends and called DKMS to set up my appointment. I donated my stem cells in late March. The world is a crazy place right now, but I gave someone a second chance at life.


paul yokas donor

I was in disbelief when I first got the email. I sent it to my wife and after some digging, we knew it was the real deal! It may seem daunting at first, but when you process that you are a match to someone and could play a role in helping save their life- it really puts everything into perspective. Having a young son at home, my wife and I knew it was something I needed to do and I had all the support I needed.


Makaella Fishcer dkms donor

When I got the email close to 4 years after registering, I went completely numb for a moment out shock. I immediately called my parents to tell them. The cause is so close to home being that my sister-in-law had childhood leukemia, I expected them to understand. My family was super supportive about the donation and couldn’t believe how blessed I am to be able to share this experience with someone. Their continuous love and support every day made me feel confident that I was doing the right thing. Registering to be a donor is such a small thing to do for the big impact it has. Giving the gift of life is something I could never regret.


heidi gould dkms

"If you're matched with someone, it is like winning the lottery. To be someone's match is a rare opportunity. You have a gift only you can give that person and it is the gift of life."

I was helping do a drive as part of Sharing America's Marrow on the campus of my PN school in 2015. That’s where I registered to be a donor. When I first got the call in 2018, I was excited and a little nervous. I think my family and friends also felt the same. After a couple of months of donating, my recipient and I started to anonymously write to each other. I may not have known who he was but I knew if I was ever asked to donate again, I'd do so in a heartbeat. April 2020, I got the call again. The question wasn't if I'm willing to donate-- It's was CAN I donate? As a registered nurse I'm in the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. My hospital was preparing for a second wave. Thankfully, I was able to get clearance from my supervisor and donated my cells within a few days.


Cameron Johnson and family dkms

"I just kept them [the patient] in my prayers and I always hoped they didn’t have any anxiety over the possibility of their donor backing out because that was never an option."

When I signed up with the DOD in 2012 to be a bone marrow donor, I did so as an extension of my duties. When I retired from the Marine Corps, I registered with DKMS to continue my duty of helping people. Early Janurary 2020, I got the call to serve as a donor. I signed up to help in this fight against cancer, I wasn't going to back down now. By the time I was done with all the neccessary screenings, COVID-19 had kicked into gear. I trusted my DKMS team and went through with the donation. Post-procedure, while still groggy, I offered to buy the surgical team pizza. At least that’s what they told me. So I guess I did OK.


Karen Leone DKMS donor

"I am fortunate to have the gift of good health and it is a gift I should share whenever and however I can."

I have a happy active family, but we have suffered several losses in our family in the last two years: my mom and dad passed within 9 months of one another and my oldest brother died suddenly in between the time we lost my parents. When I was asked to donate, it heightened the worry among my family and friends. But over time they understood I would be fine; donating wouldn't threaten my health but it would give someone a second chance to at life. In the face of so much loss, donating bone marrow is just as life affirming for my family as it is for my recipient's family.

There are many ways to get involved and support our mission.
You can raise awareness, join the registry, host your own [registration] event, take on a fundraising challenge, or anything in between.
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