This Sunday, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will feature the story and reunion of a bone marrow donor and the recipient and her family. Tom Wilhelm joined marrow donor registry, Be the Match, in 2000 and successfully donated marrow to Joey Stott, at 29 year old wife and mother.
I joined the marrow registry earlier this year and I encourage everyone eligible to join as well. It's a simple cheek swab process. There are two ways to donate: bone marrow donation and PBSC donation. As someone who has donated before, it's not nearly as scary and painful as people seem to think. Especially considering what the patient and the family goes through. It's a relatively easy process and helping someone, anyone, in such a personal and LIFE SAVING way is such an incredible experience. I hope to have the chance to do it again.
I was lucky enough to be a match for my mom and I donated via PBSC. PBSC donation takes place at an apheresis center. In my case, while I was donating, my mom was close-by as I donated for her. This picture is of her at Duke that same summer with our dog Dixie.
For 5 days leading up to donation, you receive daily injections that move more blood-forming cells out of the marrow and into the bloodstream. The blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood forming cells. The remaining blood is returned through your other arm.
So I ask you to do three things.
- Watch Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition this Sunday at 8
- Listen to Joey and Tim's story
- Consider joining the marrow registry