How It All Started
As the vice president of a club on campus called Camp Courage Crew, I understand first hand how important it is for cancer patients to find a matching donor. My club’s mission is to help raise funds for nonprofits that support children who have been affected by cancer. While not all bone marrow transplant recipients have cancer, some do, and the thought of being part of this fight against cancer is very inspiring for me. I knew that whatever chance I have to help someone who needs it I would take it , so when I was called I knew that the opportunity was something I had to take advantage of.
I signed up in October of 2019, so when I heard that I was a match, I almost couldn't believe it. It had only been four months since I swabbed and I was already a match. I was so happy at the thought of helping save a life. My loved ones were all very excited for me and were proud of me for taking part in this. I had a lot of support and amazing conversations that kept me confident in what I was going to be doing.
I Got the Call, Now What?
My donation day was set up and as odd as it sounds, I wasn’t even nervous. I had nothing but trust in the medical staff that was taking care of me. The actual donation went smooth. Being able to help save a life kept me so calm, and I was so excited for the recipient. When I woke up from the donation, the medical staff told me it went very well. I had a great experience from start to finish.
After the donation, I felt way better than I had expected. Donating bone marrow was something very new to me so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew I could expect pain. While I did feel pain, it was nowhere near what I anticipated. If I had to rate the pain from a scale of one to five, I’d say a three. It’s definitely not anything overbearing. That said, I had nausea and I needed medication to treat it. I truly believe the recovery was easier for me because I kept reminding myself that this was for a great cause, and that the recipient had been struggling for much longer than me and at a much higher level.
What This Means to Me
Being a donor is the most rewarding thing I have ever been able to do. The pain you feel after the surgery is temporary and the act of helping save a life is something that will push you past the pain. This experience is something that no one can ever take from you, and having the ability to do something so great is something that you will carry with you for a lifetime. I would tell them to really think about the recipient. Being healthy enough to be a donor is such a blessing, and so many people don't have this opportunity. To me, it's definitely the best feeling ever.
If the opportunity arises where I can meet my recipient, I would love to give them the longest hug ever. I would let them know that there is absolutely no need to thank me. I want them to know that this experience was life changing for me and that I was very happy to do it and would do it again if they ever needed it. While my recipient is thankful for me, I want them to know how thankful I am for them.