This one has been on my goals list for a while, and it's actually pretty silly that it's taken me this long to do it.
Today, I joined the Be The Match national bone marrow registry.
Here's the deal. Thousands of people need bone marrow transplants - people with leukemia, lymphoma, auto-immune diseases, and blood disorders. These are people where this might be their only chance of survival. Usually, family members have the best match - but not always. Maybe they're adopted, or only have half-siblings. Or maybe, they're like the weird ginger in a family of brunettes - it's a genetic thing, but sometimes strange things happen (disclaimer: there's nothing wrong with gingers!). There can be millions of people on a registry, and not one match for someone who desperately needs it. Maybe I'm that match.
Both my family and Sean's have been affected by cancers - and his cousin did have a bone marrow transplant when she was 9. And she's a beautiful, wonderful, cancer free, college student now. If no one in her family had matched, where would she be now?
So after a particularly touching episode of Extreme Home Makeover, I got on their website, and I sent away for my free kit. I got it in the mail on Friday - it's just a cheek swab kit.
I followed the super simple diagram, swabbed 4 times, and bingo-bango I was done. That easy.
I popped it in the business reply envelope...and I'm registered. My genetic make-up is officially on record.
There's a 1 in 540 chance that one day in the next 37 years (you're only eligible until you're 60), I'll be called to donate marrow or PBSC. If so, it'll be a multi-step process that's completely paid for by the registry - I won't need to pay for anything. Ya know, cause I'm helping someone live and all.
I want to be able to know that I'm doing something. If someone needs something that only I can give, I want to be able to do that. If I'm a match, I'll know that I've done everything possible to save that person's life. And if I'm never called on? Then I know that I've done everything I can to make myself available.