Would you save a life if you could?

When Peyton was diagnosed with Leukemia, one question that we were asked repeatedly was, “She needs a bone marrow transplant, right?”

I would have to explain that bone marrow transplant is a last ditch effort, that you don’t do it unless nothing else works, you don’t WANT to do bone marrow transplant. There’s nothing easy, simple or positive about it.

For kids with Leukemia, BMT isn’t the standard first line treatment, it’s what you do when that treatment has failed. When the traditional chemotherapy doesn’t work, and the cancer comes back, BMT becomes your best option.

To even GET to BMT, there is chemotherapy and intense radiation to destroy the existing bone marrow…leaving the body open to any and all infections. The body’s reaction to the transplant can be unpredictable…the process of engrafting – where the body begins to grow and develop new cells from the donated marrow – can be painful and is full of possible complications. The weakened immune system takes months, if not years, to full recover.

However, for the patients searching for donors, it is their best chance at life and those that cannot find a matching donor…waiting and hoping and praying for a match seems an eternity.

I will occasionally get asked about getting on the National Bone Marrow Registry.

And I can’t ever tell someone to do or not to do something.

I just encourage them to do what their heart tells them is right.

My husband and I are both on the registry and I pray that someday I will be a match. No matter how painful (and I’ve had a bone marrow aspiration, it’s not pleasant, I won’t lie) or how inconvenient it might possibly be, I can never truly contemplate past the knowledge that I could be the one to stand between life and death for another person.

My donation could mean a long life for someone out there.

Your donation could mean a long life for my daughter or one of her valiant little friends.

This is Brooke Martin, a good friend of ours. She is 5 years old and her Leukemia came back after just a month out of treatment. She went in to the hospital this past Friday to begin her road to cord blood transplant because they could not find a matching bone marrow donor in time. Please pray for this sweet girl.

Do you see why it’s never even a question for me?

There is a lot to know about becoming a potential donor and I would encourage you to:

1. read as much about it as you possibly can to make sure you know what your responsibilities as a bone marrow donor would include

2. be prepared to donate for anyone, not just in honor of the one person who might be on your heart. I’ve heard from the blood services reps that they have made recipient/donor matches only to have the donor say no because they were only donating for a specific person.

3. know there here is a $52 cost for the registration process, but there are many bone marrow drives where the testing is provided free of charge through the sponsorship of a company or person. You can contact any blood services group in your local area to find out when the next sponsored bone marrow drive is happening and make it a point to attend.

4. consider if health reasons keep you from qualifying as a bone marrow donor, you may still qualify to donate blood or platelets or stem cells…don’t give up, there are always ways you can give. Even if giving would be to donate time to a blood drive and make it easier for others to register.

Would you save a life if you could? What’s stopping you?

You can also find me at Hope4Peyton, The Mayhew Review and Twitter, you should come by, it’s nice…we have cookies! Feel free to email me at Anissa.Mayhew (at) gmail (dot )com.

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