The reward of helping someone is unmatched, a donor shares his experience with his blood stem cell donation
By Sterling Walker, DKMS blood stem cell donor
I’m currently in school studying to be an echocardiographer. When I’m not in school, I’m usually working out or watching/playing sports with friends and family.
Sterling swabs his cheeks marking the first step of becoming a potential bone marrow donor.
I first got introduced to DKMS eight years ago at a Dallas College Mountain View campus drive. I thought if I have the opportunity to help someone get a second chance at life then why not help. I was with my best friends and we all signed up together which helped. Initially I was very nervous as I've heard it hurts but the lady who signed us up explained more and told us the percentage that we would never donate so I figured I would never get the chance. I was just fortunate to get the opportunity years later.
When I got the news that I was a match, I was extremely excited. I never thought I would have a chance to donate, considering the odds. I immediately told my friends that I signed up with. They too were also excited for me since they have not been matched as yet. My family seemed indifferent mostly because of having to donate during the pandemic. In the end they were all proud though.
The donation was pretty long. It lasted about seven hours, which gave the patient the maximum amount needed. I spent most of the day watching “Sister Sister” because that was the current show on my Netflix watchlist.
Immediately after I was very tired and weak. I could barely walk and had to take it slow the rest of the day due to being fatigued. I pretty much slept the rest of that day. The next day I was pretty much back to normal activities even though I was not 100 percent. Two days after, things went back to normal.
Donating in a pandemic was difficult and had its challenges, but was definitely worth it in the end. For anyone on the fence about being a bone marrow donor, I would tell them to imagine if the patient was you or your family member. Would you not want as many people registered as possible to be a match for someone you care about? Since being a match is so hard to find only good can come from more people signing up. The reward of helping save someone's life is unmatched.