Get swabbed and save a life!
My name is Jennie and 2 years ago I got a call that would change my life and help save another. I joined the blood stem cell / bone marrow registry when I was in college. It was a quick cheek swab at a fundraising event and then after a few minutes, I was signed up in the DKMS donor pool and was good to go.
Then 6 years later, I got the call that I was compatible for a person in need! At the time, I didn’t know much about the donation process but I knew I had to help. I then learned how easy it was to help and give someone a second chance at life.
I donated my blood stem cells to an amazing woman named Robbie and getting a transplant was her best chance at beating cancer. That’s where I came in. I donated through Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC), a non-surgical procedure to extract your stem cells from your blood. More than 75% of people donate through PBSC and it's a relatively easy process. There are some preliminary tests as well as a few injections leading up to the donation. Then on the donation day, after a few hours hooked up to a machine in the hospital, they’re able to collect the cells they need and send them off to the recipient. I was back to my regular activities a day or so later.
After exchanging emails for about a year, I got the most exciting news. Robbie was officially cancer free! It was the most amazing feeling to know that I was able to help her start living her life the way she wanted to. She’s now back to playing tennis, pilates, and spending time with her family again. Then this fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Robbie and her family in person at the DKMS Gala. I had been thinking about this moment since the donation and it was so life-changing to be able to meet and give her a giant hug! She’s definitely someone who will be a part of my life forever! None of this would have been able to happen if I hadn’t joined the registry. I’m so grateful I was able to give Robbie her life back! Below is Robbie's side of OUR story...
Three years ago, I was devastated to learn that I had acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive type of blood cancer. I had just retired from my teaching career and was looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Instead, I found myself fighting for my life. After undergoing intensive chemotherapy and many hospitalizations, it was determined that I needed a bone marrow transplant in order to get my cancer into remission. Jennie didn’t hesitate to be my donor even though we were strangers. Now, I will always cherish the special bond I have with this remarkable young woman. Thanks to Jennie and DKMS, I am able to be here for my husband, sons, and grandchildren, and I am now able to live the post-retirement life I had dreamed of.
Unfortunately, there are many cancer patients in need of bone marrow transplants who have not been able to find a match. The more people who enter the registry, the greater the chance for more lives to be saved. Please consider being a bone marrow donor.