A Dance Marathon President's Gift of Life
"You have been identified as a possible blood stem cell donor for a 60 year old, female with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. You could be the donor this patient is hoping for." I received this email on July 25, 2014, from the Be The Match organization, less than a year after I gave a sample during the bone marrow drive through the Stand Up To Cancer Club on the Saint Mary’s College campus.
As a 20-year-old college student, I did not hesitate for one second. I thought to myself, "You are a healthy young adult. Why wouldn't you donate? This could save her life." And with that, I began the process of donating my stem cells to a stranger.
The whole process took a total of three months, from my first blood test to my actual donation day. I never questioned my decision, for I felt it was God's calling for me to donate. My family and friends were my main supporters, without them I would not have had the mindset to donate. They were the people who taught me so much about the world and giving. The other support system I had was my Dance Marathon Executive Board.
I joined the Riley Dance Marathon at Saint Mary’s College during my freshmen year and have been dancing ever since. When I found out that I would be donating at IU Medical Center, I thought about Riley being right next door. I felt that it was meant to be, because I knew I had all of my Riley family next door along with my biological family.
When I arrived to IU on October 23, 2014, my heart was beating faster than normal. When I entered the apheresis department and was welcomed as their “hero for the day,” I felt a sense of reassurance and calm. I knew I was doing the right thing.
After six hours, I had completed the stem cell donation. My recipient would now have the same blood type and immune system as me. I left the hospital and realized that I will forever be a part of someone else.
A stranger had turned into my biggest inspiration.
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