A couple of months ago, my aunt mentioned that she wanted to do something to give back to society since she has been so fortunate in her own life. She thought signing up to be a bone marrow donor would be a nice start but she soon found out she’s too old. Apparently, once you’re over 60 years old nobody wants your stuff anymore. But she suggested I sign up… so I did.
I always joke that once I make a lot of money… only THEN I will become philanthropic and get involved in more charity/non-profit work. After all, I gotta feed myself first. But I do feel guilty about this line of thinking given how easy my life has been thus far (knocking on wood as I’m typing this). Signing up to be a bone marrow donor seemed to be the perfect solution and it was so easy. I went to the National Marrow Donor Program website, confirmed that I qualify and had them send me a registration kit. Once I received the kit, I took a swab of the inside of my mouth and mailed the soggy Q-tips back to them. Soon after, I received word that I am now in their registry!
I may never been called to donate but it feels good knowing that I could potentially, some day, save someone’s life by doing something that is no skin off my back. The majority of donations do not involve surgery. Today, the procedure that is typically done is a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical and you go home the same day. There can be short-lived side effects of donating due to a drug you take for five days leading up to the donation. You may have headaches, joint or muscle aches, or fatigue but you’re back to feeling 100% in 1-2 days. During the procedure, you receive general or regional anesthesia so there’s no pain and only a little soreness in your lower back afterward.
Unfortunately, I don’t know that I’ll ever be called to duty because I’m a white female with the most common blood type: O+. Who they really need are people of different ethnic backgrounds and rarer blood types.
No matter what your ethnicity or blood type is though, consider joining the registry. What a small price to pay to save someone’s life.