September of 2020, my husband and I were in Dresden, Germany visiting his family. While I was there, I kept getting these phone calls from Jamaica, New York. I didn’t know anyone in New York and figured it was scammers and would decline the calls. When I was back in Alaska, I got an email from DKMS. I thought to myself, “Oh yeah- the swab thing that I did in college!” What could they be emailing me about? I read the email, and at first I thought it couldn’t be real. It said I was a match to someone in their registry who was in need of a life saving bone marrow transplant and to call
them immediately. After a few minutes on the phone, and learning about a little boy somewhere in the world who needed that bone marrow, I was all in.
Trust me when I say, never in a million years did I think they would call me. When I did my swab in college, I don’t think I understood the gravity of what I was signing up for. It dawned on me- that because of those 5 minutes I took to swab my cheeks and mailed it off, could mean the difference between life and death for someone in the world. It’s INSANE, but in the very best and coolest way possible!
I was sent more swabs by DKMS to confirm, and I was booked a flight to San Diego for a full physical. This little boy fortunately had another match somewhere in the world and the doctors wanted to compare mine and the other donor’s blood just to see who would be the very best candidate for the operation.
I’m so happy for this little boy that he was blessed to have 2 matches, when some people never even find 1. I did not undergo the surgery, but I only pray that this boy is happy and healthy with his new bone marrow; and that his donor recovered quickly after the procedure. I think of him all the time and hope he is doing so well! ❤️
When DKMS flew me to San Diego, I learned a lot about the process! When I mentioned before how many never find a match- that’s what stuck with me the most. I was astonished to learn that you match with those of the same
ethnicity as yourself, and often have even down to the same hair and eye color as your donor! Caucasian’s make up 69% of the bone marrow registry with 9.3 million donors and are the most likely group to have a match. Sadly, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives make up only 1% of the registry with only 142,000 people in the registry. Upon learning this, I was baffled. How are there not more people talking about this? Every 3 minutes, a person is diagnosed with blood cancer. Indigenous people deserve better representation. I want to aid in growing a more diverse bone marrow registry so that no one ever has to go without finding a match. 70% of people’s matches come from outside their immediate family. Please sign up for my virtual drive and become a donor for DKMS and give the gift of life to someone in need!