Tag Archives: gift

Why I Donated My Bone Marrow to Save a Stranger’s Life

Seven years ago today, I saved a man’s life.

While I don’t know his name, or whether he has had the good fortune to live to see this day, I gave him an extraordinary gift – my bone marrow.

Seven years ago, I matched a complete stranger. I had been on the national bone marrow registry since I was 18 and it took only seven years for me to be a perfect match. Seven has always been my favorite number.

I matched, at the time, a 29-year-old male with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There was no doubt in my mind that I would donate. I held the keys to save someone, to give them something that no one else could. I was his lifeline.

Not everyone agreed with my decision. My family, while completely supportive, feared for my own well-being. Would something happen to me during the donation, what were the long-term effects? I understood, but all I could think of was if this was my family, if this was me, or someone I loved, and I had to rely on the generosity of strangers, I’d need someone like me to step up to the plate.

I went through some pain, I gave up paid working days, and it was an emotional roller coaster, as things didn’t go quite as smoothly as the registry had promised. Needless to say, I still saved that 29-year-old man, “Peter” as I liked to call him, since I didn’t know his real name.

I was only updated for a year about “Peter,” and up until that point, he lived. He was doing well and surviving. That’s really all anyone could have hoped for. I always wished he would reach out, send a letter, a card of thanks or maybe even call me, but he has yet to do that, and no one from his family has ever done that either. I don’t need that to complete the process, it would just be icing on the cake.

When I see people on TV meet their donors, or read their stories in the paper, I wish that could be me. And then sometimes I think, maybe “Peter” died. Maybe he’s not even alive to thank me. It’s such a black hole not knowing how it all turned out. It certainly wasn’t the ending I was expecting, but who knows, in 10 years, maybe “Peter” will come knocking on my door to say hello.

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Where Did the ‘Happy’ in Happy Birthday Go?

I love my birthday. It’s this weekend. Sunday actually, in case you want to send me birthday wishes, gifts, flowers, money!

I have always loved my birthday. It’s a reason to celebrate me; see family and friends; have a good time. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. Yet almost everyone I know is so reluctant to celebrate their own birthdays, some want to forget them altogether. What a downer.

Yes, I know we are getting up there in age. Hell, we have been for some time. There’s no stopping it. This trend didn’t start when entered the “Dirty Thirty Club,” people just don’t seem to like bringing attention the day they were born, no matter what their age.

All I know is I love birthdays, and not just my own. I love celebrating other people. How wonderful is it to have a day dedicated all to yourself, where people can shower you with love and affection just because you are here, because you are you?

Maybe I have a chip in my body that makes me look at my birthday and the birthdays of those around me in a different light. If that’s the case, I’m glad I do, because it’s rare to find that person that likes, let alone loves their birthday.

If you are one of those people hating on your birthday, for whatever reason, take a step back and try not to hate it so much for a hot minute. Think about how great and wonderful and fun it can be. And if nothing else, be thankful you have another day, another week, another year, to celebrate the wonderfulness that is you! Just think of it as a birthday gift to me!