"By doing so little, you get back so much" - Melissa

Melissa Gonzalez began 2014 with some big news: she was a match.

“I found out on New Year’s Eve -- it was an amazing way to start the year!

For me, donating bone marrow was just an easy thing to do; it was a very humbling and exciting experience. From day one, everything about the process matched up with the information I was provided. I always felt well taken care of by everyone at DKMS.

I was comfortable the whole time, and it was great having my mom there with me. She was surprised at how fast I was in and out of surgery. Since then I’ve been able to volunteer at drives, and people have asked me how it felt. To me it was not painful. I felt sore and tired -- like I had a tough workout. My procedure was on a Monday and I was back at work on Thursday. If this is the hardest thing I'm ever going to have to do to help save another human being, then sign me up -- I'll do it again!

I personally feel a connection with my patient. Even though I haven’t met her, there are things I can relate to. I know she is in her early 60’s. My mom is in her 60’s and I would hope that if my mom were in need, that someone would help her out. And beyond what I feel personally I have this connection now to a whole new family of people I have met at the drive where I registered, and the drives where I have volunteered.

It changes you in a very profound way. I have a great life, I have a loving and supportive family, and I have a good job. But doing this makes me feel like I have really served a purpose -- it’s an awesome feeling.

How many people get to say that in their lifetime they helped save a life? By doing so little, you get back so much.”