BONE MARROW DRIVE 8/3/2014 Point Loma

 

Niko

*** VOLUNTEERS NEEDED***

contact us in the lobby on 7/27/14 or call 888-251-0620 or email jen@rockcancercare.org

Shifts are as follows:

  1.        7am to 10 am –  Need 5 volunteers  
  2.        9:30 am to 12noon-Need 5 Volunteers
  3.        11:30 am to 2pm – Need 5 volunteers
  4.        4:30pm to 7:30pm – Need 5 volunteers

 

 

Please read this volunteer’s experience with donating bone marrow.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” –
John 15:13

tess1
In May 2009 there was a table along library walk at UCSD that caught my eye – it was to sign up to be in the bone marrow registry. I had seen a similar table weeks before when a guy was advertising to be in the registry; his best friend had leukemia, was eligible for a transplant, but they couldn’t find a match. I signed up for the registry by doing a simple cheek swab and went on my way. I heard from friends that they had been in the registry for years but haven’t matched, so I figured the chances of me actually matching were close to none. However, within a month I got a call because I was a potential match for a patient. I went in and had an informational meeting with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and got blood samples drawn for further testing. Within this meeting I was informed about the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) procedure which currently accounts for 70-80% of the donations today. I had never heard of this before but it sounded pretty simple: give injections – bone marrow multiplies and goes into the blood stream – collect bone marrow from an IV line in the arm. This was far from the commonly held misconception that the only way to harvest bone marrow was by drilling into your bones. I visited home the following weekend and I didn’t realize how frightened my family was that I was even a potential match. Personally, I had never thought it was that big of a deal to sign up for the registry and go through with donating if need be, but everyone else seemed to think it was a big deal.

 

Cancer is something that is close to my heart, ever since 2005 I have lost someone close to me to different
types of cancer. When I moved to San Diego to finish my last two years of college in 2008 the Lord spoke to my
heart during the ministry fair to join with Rock Cancer CARE. Through this my compassion grew deeper for those
who were battling cancer which is probably a factor in why it was so easy for me to sign up for the registry. My
Mom, Dad and brother were the first to say to me “Do you know how much it’ll hurt?” but they certainly wouldn’t
be the last. Anytime I shared with anyone that I would be donating, I heard this phrase. But I got to thinking, even
if they would collect the marrow surgically (and not through PBSC), my temporary pain could help save someones
life. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” – Hebrews
13:16. In the future, God forbid, if my child came down with a cancer that could be cured with a bone marrow
transplant, and there was someone out there who could save his/her life but were withholding just because they
thought of only their pain, that would break my heart. Thoughts like this came soaring through my mind, but not
once did I ever think of backing out – which I had the option to do at any point. Months passed and I got another call saying that I indeed matched with the recipient 🙂

When a patient will receive a transplant they need to undergo chemotherapy to kill off their cells so that the donors’ cells can be taken in, along with other procedures such as immune suppressing so their body won’t reject the donors cells. The recipient wasn’t responding well to treatments so the transplant would be pushed back to the following year (2010).
In May of this year I got a call regarding being the donor for the patient and I met up with a coordinator from NMDP for another information session regarding the PBSC procedure (which is how they would be collecting my marrow) and drawing more blood samples. I was thankful to find out that they would be collecting my bone marrow through PBSC, although I would’ve gone through with it even if it was the surgical way (through the bones). I found out that if they do collect the marrow surgically the recipient is usually a child – in my opinion, that would make any pain worth it.

tess2Within the next month I would be getting a full physical done and multiple blood samples drawn for further testing. I have no idea who my recipient is, I simply know that it is a female, her age, and what type of cancer she has. Before I donated, a lot of people thought I was doing it for someone in my family, but when I told them it was a complete stranger, their reaction was questionable. Helping someone out in this capacity is the same whether or not you know them. I often thought “Why does it matter?” God loves us all, and we should take care of eachother – even if we are complete strangers. After my full physical was done I started to become scared of the procedure and whether or not it would hurt, but speaking to a few people my nerves were calmed. “For I am the Lord God who takes hold of your right hand and says ‘Do
not fear, I will help you’” – Isaiah 41:13. I was confident God would guide me through each step of the way.

tess3June 24th I started getting shots of Filgrastim, which is a drug that’ll stimulate the mass production of bone marrow and bring it out into my blood stream. I got two shots daily until June 27th. June 28th was the actual collection day, I checked in at 6:45am, ate breakfast, and got additional blood drawn. Once the blood analysis came back, I got an additional 2 shots of the drug, and I took Atiban which would help relax me for the procedure. Soon enough I was in the hospital collection room and I would be getting shots to help numb the areas around my arms where the IV’s would go. I got my IV’s put in and I was hooked up to the machine, then I fell asleep, but not for long. The IV on my left arm was the outflow line which would be fed into the machine, the machine would centrifuge my cells and collect the bone marrow, and the rest would be returned into my input line – the IV in my right arm. I woke up an hour later and talked to my mom, the nurses, and the coordinator from the NMDP who were there the whole time, I even texted a few people. Also during this time, they let me pick out what food I wanted for lunch. Then I fell back asleep and woke up another hour later.

tess4This time I stayed awake until the entire procedure was done. The procedure itself wasn’t painful, the only thing I complained about was having to have my arms in the same position for 4-5 hours. After I was done, they unhooked my IV’s, bandaged them up, and gave me some lunch. Overall I felt fine, just a little tired, I think everyone else was more concerned for me than anything else. I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to help someone in need and I wanted to let everyone know that the procedure is not just drilling into your bones, it isn’t that painful and there are so many people along the way who are willing to help you out. I got an enormous amount of support from the NMDP
and the staff at the hospital, they take really good care of you. I have full confidence that if I can go through
this, anyone can! If the Lord is speaking to your heart to serve people in this way, don’t hesitate to sign up for the registry, it is a blessing to be able to serve someone in this capacity.

tess5

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9.

NOTE: I won’t know anything about the status of my recipient until a year after the transplant.

For questions, concerning the Bone marrow drive or any of the services that Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. offers please email us at info@rockcancercare.org or call 1.888.251.0620

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Categories: Big News, CARE, Local Events, Volunteer, Volunteer Stories

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