Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Donor's Story

In my opinion, anyone who becomes a marrow Donor is an awesome person.  These are people who give of themselves and purposely, with thought and intent, make a huge effort to save someones life.   Jenny became her sister's donor and has since opened a website to encourage people in their cancer journey and also to try to get more people to sign up on the marrow registry....  Please go and visit her site (here) and talk to someone about joining today..  What an experience it must be to save a life!

Thanks, Jenny, for what you did - your story inspires and gives hope to so many!  And thanks for doing even more and spreading the word about becoming a donor - who knows, maybe one day your work will be the link to another life saved!

Here is Jenny's story..........

My name is Jenny Motta and I used to believe that if you had the will to live then you would, but now I know the reality...  The reality is there are thousands of people with the best will to live that are dying.  The people I'm referring to need a Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant, without one, they will die.  
What if I told you that you could be their only chance at life?  And you wouldn't have to give up anything that your body wouldn't make back naturally.  Sounds too good to be true?  Well it is true, ya see I'm speaking from experience.  I literally saved someone with cancers life, and I didn't have to give up an organ or a piece of bone, or anything else my body would ever need again. 
It seems these days that everyone knows, or has known someone with cancer or another type of life threatening disease...  We may not have found the cure for all of them yet, but we have found the cure for 80 different  diseases, and that is a Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant. 
                                                     This Is My Story

     Nine years ago my younger sister was diagnosed with Chronic Melogenous Leukemia.  Three weeks later we found out that I was what the doctors called a perfect match.  We flew from Alaska to Seattle to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Care Alliance.  I went through some basic test to make sure I was healthy enough to be a donor.  The doctors then gave me the option to donate stem cells or bone marrow.  These are basically the same thing (blood cells) the difference is how they extract the cells from your body.  

They explained to me that the Stem Cell Transplant which is also called peripheral donation is done by a procedure called apheresis.  With this procedure the doctors would give me (the donor) one shot a day of growth hormones for four to five days, this is so the donated stem cells are easily accessible from my veins.  Then the doctors would insert a needle in both arms.  They take the cells out of one arm and run it through a machine that filters out only the cells that the patient will need, then they return the unneeded cells back to me (donor) in the other arm.  

The second option they gave me was a Bone Marrow Transplant.  For this procedure they would put me under anesthesia and go through the back side of my pelvis (my lower back) with a needle to get out the needed bone marrow (the blood cells in my pelvis) I feel the name of this is procedure can be very deceiving.  I need to make it clear they do not take bone, only blood cells.  I should also note that I don't know if every donor will have the option for which procedure they will donate.  I personally don't care much for needles so I chose to go with the Bone Marrow Transplant and be put under anesthesia.  The procedure took about two hours, they extracted two units of marrow.  I was sore for about two weeks, not that bad.  Not bad at all considering that the small amount of effort I went through saved someone's life.
   July 18, 2010 was the nine year mark since I saved my sisters life.  I would do it again in a heart beat for anyone.  Reading this you may think the thought of being chosen as a donor would be a scary thing to go through.  Well to that I say, "it's no walk in the park," but please take a moment to think about what it would feel like to have a doctor tell you that you would die unless someone else was willing to donate to you.  Every day thousands of people all around the world are faced with just that.  

  One last thing I would like to make clear, just because you register to donate (which is only four swabs from the inside of your cheeks, and the packet is mailed to your home) doesn't mean that you will donate.  It only means that you are put in data base with millions of other people that are willing to donate . 

                                                   Please register to donate.  

                                                        Register Here