When I was a college student, I used to go up to the University Hospital to give blood. I’d go as often as I could, but there came a time that I got my dates messed up and went up there about a week to early, so they wouldn’t let me give, but they had asked if I wouldn’t mind joining the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). My first answer was “No” but when I found out that the chances of me actually matching with a patient was, something like, 1/100,000. I thought that I could take those odds, after all I never win anything, not even a flip of the coin, where my odds are 1/2. So, I joined.Two years later, I had just moved into an apartment, and was getting married in a couple of weeks, when the phone rang. It was the NMDP and I had a preliminary match to a patient. “Really?” They asked if I would go up to LDS Hospital to give more blood for final matching. I did, and to make a long story short, on April 2nd 1993 (my 24th birthday) I gave several milliliters of bone marrow from my hip to a 6-year-old little boy named Christian who had Leukemia.
The first reports we got of his progress were positive, the marrow had implanted, that he was home and cancer free, a healthy & happy little boy who liked to ride his brand new bike. Then, in August, I got a call from Mark, my contact at the Intermountain Marrow Donor Program, telling me that Christian’s cancer had returned and that he had passed away. I remember feeling angry, helpless, like somehow I or the doctors or someone had let this little boy down. That was almost 20 years ago, he would have been 25 this year. I still have his picture in my nightstand.Then, in 2005, my wife’s cousin Leslee, was pregnant with her second boy and just wasn’t feeling right. She went to her doctor who drew some blood to test for one of the many blood related things expectant mothers can come down with. Well, she had come down with leukemia.
They immediately put her on steroids and other drugs to help ready the baby for an early delivery. And not long after that, she delivered a very small baby boy, and then quickly began chemotherapy. We, her family, began to organize a bone marrow drive. We knew that the chances of finding a marrow donor for Leslee were astronomical, but we had to do something and our hope was that if we could not help Leslee, well, maybe we could help someone. While we were in the organizing phase of the marrow drive, we were informed that they had found a marrow donor for her. We went forward with the drive, and were able to sign up 32 new donors.Leslee’s health, however, continued to decline, and on April 12, 2006 she passed away at her home, with her husband and the two little boys who will never know her smile or her laugh. She never became healthy enough for the marrow donation. She was 28 years old.
Last Fall, I walked into a local restaurant and found a pamphlet for Team in Training, a program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The program consists of helping me to train to meet some endurance goal of mine, and in return, I would help raise money to fund research into fighting blood cancers. Since there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about ways I could help fight this disease, let’s just say that I was interested.Last night I joined. My personal goals are insignificant when compared to the hell that victims of blood cancer go through every day and I ask for your help. I’m not going to bore you with statistics or other nonsense… because I think that the stories I’ve given you speak for themselves. Please consider donating to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Help me to help them find a cure for this devastating disease by clicking HERE.
Thank you so much!