Friday, August 12, 2011

Something you might not know about me

Since high school, I have been a registered organ donor. When I die, I hope to be spread from here to kingdom come, giving life, health, sight and wellness to many.

Since 1995, I have been on the bone marrow donor registry. In all that time, I have only been called once as a possible match. I went in for another round of blood work, per the registry's request. I was not close enough to what they needed. That was that. This was about eight years ago.

I will admit that the thought of actually being a match for someone makes me nervous. It's not like donating blood. There are plenty of shots and needles involved. Lots of hours to prepare before the procedure. Some minimal recovery time after. You may or may not have contact with the person you help. You may never get called. You may receive a call quickly.

Yet, through all of that nervousness, all I keep thinking is, "What if my child or my husband needed marrow? What if their life depended on it? Would we accept a donation from a perfect stranger?"

You bet we would. We would be so utterly grateful. If we are willing to accept it, then we should be willing to donate if we qualify.

If you've never considered it, please just think about it. Learn about it. If you have signed up previously, make sure you information is up to date. There is a massive need for those with diverse racial and ethnic heritage, as you are most likely to match with someone of your same race or ethnicity. Currently there are far too many people waiting who are African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latino and those of mixed races and ethnicity.

It's the weekend. Ponder it. The link will still be here when you get back on Monday.

Dude, you could help somebody ... ya' know ... NOT DIE.

Not to mention, it will make you a bone marrow slut, like me. We'll give it out to ANYBODY!


Jen said...

I'm a registered organ donor but have never thought about marrow. Am going to check it out right n.o.w.!

Love your blog in BC, Canada!

Jessica Lynn said...

I'm registered for organs and marrow.

I agree with you - when I die, if there's anything useful left in me, I want it handed out to people that need it.

Of course, I'd rather die when I'm so old that my organs are not useful to anyone....but, it's a good idea to prepare for the possibility that won't happen.

Donating marrow makes me a bit nervous, but, I'd like to think that if someone in my family needed marrow, someone else would be willing to donate to them. Plus, I would hate if someone died for lack of something I could have given them. I hate (hate, HATE) needles, but, it's a small inconvenience for someone else to have a chance.

Elizabeth @ My Life, Such as it is... said...

I'm a registered organ donor too but hadn't thought about marrow. I wrote about organ donation last year or maybe 2 years ago when a friend's brother was on a waiting list for a kidney.

Too many people die needlessly every day, week, month or year waiting for an organ!

MissPinkKate said...

I'm a bone marrow donor and I will be donating marrow (PBSC, to be exact) in September! Very excited to have been picked.

Dennis Nesser said...

I remember in high school a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. His parents gave out all of his usable organs. I forget how many lives his organs helped, but it was a huge number of people. Since then I've been an organ donor.

Unfortunately I can not give blood because of my being stationed in Germany in the 1980's, and because of 'Mad Cow' I'm banned. But before that I did donate blood regularly.

I figure when I'm gone I won't need any of my body parts. The good Lord will give me MUCH better eyes, and body. So if I have any parts that can be use, PLEASE use them.

I'm not sure if I can donate marrow or not, but I will look into it too. It's a great idea.

Jen said...

Thanks for posting about this. I've been on the marrow registry since the day I turned 18. I've never been contacted but I plan to stay on the registry for as long as they'll let me.

One related thing that people should be aware of is umbilical cord blood donation. Umbilical cord blood is full of stem cells and can be transplanted (in a similar way as bone marrow) to help patients with a variety of different cancers as well as other conditions. My understanding is that umbilical cord blood is actually preferable to bone marrow in some cases (but don't quote me on that). Umbilical cord blood can be donated through the same organization you already linked to (the National Marrow Donor Program). People can find information here:

Umbilical cord blood, if not donated or "banked" by the parents for possible future use, would otherwise be thrown away, and donation doesn't in any way affect the mom or baby.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I am a registered organ donor. I'm not medically allowed to give bone marrow, but I am so very grateful to those who do.

As someone who adopted transracially, I am especially passionate about this issue. Adoptees have it even tougher when it comes to finding a match, since they typically won't find an (adoptive) relative match. (In about 30% of cases, a relative is used.) Plus, there's about a 35-45% chance of finding a donor in the current registry if you're an ethnic minority. (If you're Caucasian, you have about an 80 to 85% chance of finding a donor.)

Katie said...

BONE MARROW SLUT???!!!! Love it!
Good for you Christine, and I will definitely look into it. Thanks for raising awareness.

BC, Canada

Michelle said...

I was surprised how easy it was to sign up as a bone marrow donor - in Canada, it's all online and you just mail back a cheek swab that they send you. Easy-peasy.
As an adopted adult, I am all too aware that my available genetic-matching pool is kind of shallow (maybe I should have had more kids? :)).

louralann said...

I was kindof upset to find out that although I'm perfectly healthy in every other aspect, because I have sleep apnea I'm not allowed to be a donor. Talk about disappointing :(

r. said...

As a white woman in a relationship with an Asian man, I just want to put out a shout-out to all the biracial folks out there. Please sign up to be a bone marrow donor. Biracial individuals really do have a hard time finding donors who are a close match.

It didn't really hit home until I heard a news story about a biracial (Asian/white) little girl who was dying and in need of a bone marrow transplant, and I realized that could be my (future) kid one day.