As a 14-year-old girl, Dawn Crapanzano watched the nurses care for her grandmother, who lost a battle with cancer. “They took care of my grandmother with such compassion,” she explained. This experience helped to shape Dawn’s future.
Today, in her role as nurse and Bone Marrow Transplant Donor Coordinator at Stony Brook Hospital, Dawn works closely with registries and donor centers including DKMS, coordinating stem cell and bone marrow collections from healthy donors.
I’m a very lucky girl,” explained Dawn. “I get to see the beauty, love and commitment of our donor heroes who know the immense importance of what they have to do, I watch collections get picked up by the courier and rushed to patients waiting hopefully for a second chance at life.
Although she has worked in the field of hematology and oncology since 1988 and has experienced so many moments, both happy and heartbreaking, Dawn feels grateful every day.
She says that her very favorite moments are her interactions with donors and patients. “One day I received a call from a donor who happened to be nearby – he wanted to stop by to see me,” Dawn said. “He told me how great his donation experience was, and how I helped make it so positive. For me, the greatest joy is the feedback from patients and donors. It’s very rewarding on so many levels.
“Our life saving marrow donors give the most wonderful gift of all, so selflessly, to help patients with blood cancers,” Dawn said. “It puts my own life in perspective and gives me faith in humanity.”