Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Be A Hero, Be The Match

by heather

Saturday night after being at work for more than 13 hours I hauled my family to the county fair. And no, it’s not because I was aching for that special smell that can only be found at the fair, the smell that is a combo of cheap cigarettes, swine, cooking grease, pickles and who knows what else, or because I wanted to blow 85% of my weekly grocery budget on one meal. We went because it was the last night of the fair and the mother of one of our cancer kids was running a booth there to raise awareness about the national bone marrow registration program. Her child has a donor, but so many people are not that lucky.

On many occasions people have asked me ‘how in the world I can take care of sick kids?’ ‘It seems cruel to stick them with needles and hold them down for procedures’. It generally doesn’t bother me. (Yes, I would rather not do it if it can possibly be avoided, but I won’t hesitate to do it when I know that’s what needs to be done.) I would much rather hold kids down for an IV start than contemplate the possible outcomes if we didn’t take the measures that we do. I know that the things I do will make them better.  That’s not always the case with our patients with cancer. The cancer kids tear me up inside. It’s just not fair that someone so innocent should suffer so very much. And their poor families. Having a child with cancer can turn your world upside down and rip your heart out. That is why I am challenging everyone who is able, to join the national bone marrow registry. Take the chance to save a life.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to BeTheMatch.org. You can either request a donor registration kit to be mailed to you, or you can locate a donor drive that is taking place in your area.
  2. If you are between the ages of 18-60 and are in general good health, you will probably qualify to donate. Go here to see more details about conditions that do and do not limit you from donating.
  3. Once you have filled out the appropriate paper work and have the donor kit in front of you, you will take the four cotton swaps and wipe them, one at a time, on the inside of your cheek. That’s it! You’re registered and the genetic material in your cheek cells will be analyzed and archived so that doctors from around the world can look for potential matches to help save their patients.
  4. If you are a match to someone in need there is no cost to you. One of two things will happen, depending on what your match needs. 1) You will receive a few injections (5 days in advance) of a medication that stimulates your body to make more blood stem cells. When it is time to donate your blood will be removed, the blood stem cells separated and your blood returned to you. No surgery required and most donations are done this way. 2) Your bone marrow will be removed from your hip bone with a needle, while you are under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure and your body will replace the bone marrow that is removed.

 If you have questions the National Marrow Donor Program has the answers. So yes, there are some needles and discomfort involved, but isn’t that worth being a true hero?


12 Responses to “Be A Hero, Be The Match”

  1. Be The Match says:

    Thank you for your post about Be The Match and our live-saving mission. Your help spreading the word makes life-saving bone marrow transplants a reality for more patients. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Heather is right. There are a few needles and a little discomfort involved with donating. More importantly, I had a great feeling that my bone marrow was providing hope and a future for an eight year old boy and his family.

    If that was your child or loved one, wouldn't you hope someone would take the chance and Be The Match?

    It really is that simple. So, please.

    Be The Match.

  3. Heather says:

    @ BeTheMatch- So glad to help
    @ Anonymous- Way to Be!

  4. KC Mom says:

    Wow. Thanks for this info. I've always wondered how it worked. I'm doing it.

  5. Giggles says:

    I've always wanted to do this. I donate blood on a regular basis. And I am an organ donor for after I die, but I know I could do more. Thanks for sharing the procedure.

    My mom once told a pediatric oncologist that she hoped he would be unemployed some day. He looked shocked till she explained that would mean no more kids were getting cancer. And then he agreed.

    Visiting from MMB.

  6. Heather says:

    @ KC Mom
    Yeah, you would think that being a nurse I would have known more about this before now, but I didn't. So I figured if this is news to me, it's got to be news to a lot of other people too and it's something that people need to know about. So EVERYONE, please share this info. It's something so simple that can make a huge difference in the world.

    @ Giggles
    That would be so fantastic if there wasn't a need for pediatric nurses and doctors! (Especially oncs) That would really make me happy. In the mean time, I've got to pay the bills somehow, so I might as well do it by helping kids get better.

  7. Sharon Cohen says:

    Thank you for this post. I've thought of this off and on over the years but never followed through. Thank you for answering the basic questions especially about medical guidelines. Even if I can't do this myself I am at least a bit more educated and can tell others.

    This is the first time I've participated in the Post of the Week blog hop from Mormon Mommy Blogs. I decided to visit every site listed before mine and follow for reasons of fellowship. So glad that I did.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great post, thanks for help getting the word out. Honestly when you see all that these sweet kids go through during their treatment and how brave they are, anything we could go through to help seems minimal. I pray to be found to be a match for someone…may I be so bless to be given the opportunity to be part of this process.. Cancer sucks but love, faith and strength is divine….P.S. I love working with you and being your friend you are awesome!!! Farnie :-)

  9. MomBabe says:

    I wish I could! I'm not even allowed to donate blood. :(

  10. Heather says:

    @ Sharon- You're welcome & please tell your friends.

    @ Farnie- I second everything you said, I really hope I'll be given a chance to help someone this way. Love working with you too. Hugs!

    @ MomBabe- You should check, because the restrictions for bone marrow and blood donation are different. Check the link above for the details. But hey, even if you can't you probably know someone that can. And the more people that are registered, the greater chance kids in need of a donor have of finding their match.

  11. ladyozma says:

    So the thanks I just left you in my blog comments wasn't enough for me. thank you for posting this link. Thank you for spreading awareness.

    But even more importantly, thank you so very much for what you do. We need you so much. We may not be able to tell you how much you mean in our lives. Thank you for doing the hard things that we cannot do. Thank you for facing these sick children, knowing all that you know, and yet having a smile on your face. Sometimes it is the thing that brightens our day.

    My son had a Wilms' Tumor, Stave IV. So he didn't need marrow, but he did need blood and other such transfusions. Thank you to anyone who donates…anything!

  12. Heather says:

    Lady Ozma- Wow, thanks! It's always nice to be appreciated, but I can't take that much credit. I hope your son is doing much better.

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