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How to Save a Life

May 14, 2010

I got an e-mail from an IF friend of mine Tuesday. She is organizing a bone marrow donor drive for 4-year old Devan, pictured here.

Devan has a rare form of high-risk leukemia. The best chances for his survival is with a blood and/or bone marrow transplant, but they can’t find a match for him. Doctors have 11 weeks left to find a match. You can read about his story here: Be Devan’s Match, Save His Life

I signed up to be a bone marrow donor on Tuesday. I got my package for my cheek swabs in the mail today. I read about what you have to do to be a donor, and I figure it’s no sweat compared to going through IVF multiple times. The most common form of donation these days is by blood stem cell. You get injections daily for five days, then on the 5th day, they take your blood. Sound familiar? I figure I’m a pro at this by now. I might as well put my IVF skills to use. Marrow donation involves an outpatient procedure where they put you under and remove bone marrow from your hip bone with a needle. Doesn’t sound any worse than an egg retrieval to me. If it means saving someone’s life, I’ll do it.

For me, I feel like I want my life to be useful in some way. Giving someone part of my healthy cells to save their life would mean so much to me. I know that I too may use a donor, an egg donor, someday (if I win the lottery) and I know how grateful I will be that someone was willing to give me the gift of life.

It is insanely easy to sign up to be a marrow donor. However, it takes about 7 weeks to get your typing results up on the bone marrow database from the time you sign up to when they process your results, so you need to sign up TODAY if this kid has a chance of finding a donor. How do you sign up?

USA Sign up: Be the Match

UK Sign Up: The Anthony Noland Trust

Rest of the World: Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide

If you are pregnant, you can also donate your baby’s cord blood: Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation

Please leave a comment when you have signed up! Thanks!!

Updated 5/17/10: I forgot to emphasize that registering to become a marrow donor is FREE. When you register on the “Be the Match” website (US), you will be asked to donate to cover the cost of the testing. However, you are not obligated to pay anything. I paid nothing. Registering to be a marrow donor is FREE and easy!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2010 11:22 am

    And this is why you’re so awesome and we all love you so much.

    I’m going to get Mr. LC and I to sign up today.

    You’re right, being a donor is nothing compared to going through IVF (medically speaking) but imagine the joy of knowing you could make such a difference to someone else.

  2. May 15, 2010 6:10 pm

    Awesome of you to do this and I truly hope this little guy finds a match!

    I sent in my cheek swab kit in early January. I figured if they called me before I got knocked up, I could just delay the knock-up by a couple of months – gladly! No call yet. In fact, I’ve never even gotten a letter back confirming their receipt of the kit and that I’m in the database. Nothing. Makes me wonder.

    • phoebephoenix permalink*
      May 16, 2010 9:50 pm

      My info says you are supposed to get a donor card once they put your results in the data base. Are you thinking of donating your cord blood?

  3. May 16, 2010 4:59 pm

    You are such an awesome person. You know that, right?

    I signed up many moons ago while still in grad school and then put myself on the defer list when we started TTC. It is on my 101 list to get re-registered and I plan to call tomorrow to get back on the active list.

    So hope they are able to find a match for this little guy…

  4. May 16, 2010 6:37 pm

    Here from L & F. Great links- I’ve posted the US site on my FB page. I’m so bummed that my autoimmune disorders disqualify me…

  5. May 16, 2010 8:02 pm

    This is wonderful! I would register, but I can’t for several reasons (herniated dic, polycystic kidney disease, etc.) The will not accept my bone marrow. SIGH!!!
    I will be praying for him.

  6. Alexicographer permalink
    May 16, 2010 8:29 pm

    I saw the link from LFCA and tried to register but got to a point where I was told that to register as a prospective match for Devan (with that promo code) I needed to pay $52. That may well be worthwhile and I appreciate that there are costs involved in screening donors, but I was a little surprised to learn of this up-front cost. Pursuing this has helped me understand more about donating marrow and I will try to find a way to register as a prospective marrow donor for free (at no cost to me, the donor). Surely one exists?

    • phoebephoenix permalink*
      May 16, 2010 9:47 pm

      In the US, it’s free, but they usually ask if you can donate the $100 to process your results. There is no obligation to pay anything. I’m not sure about the site you are visiting, but I’m pretty sure most organizations do it for free. What country are you from?

      • Alexicographer permalink
        May 17, 2010 6:47 am

        OK — I’m in the US and thought I’d gone to the US site. I must have gotten off track somewhere; I’ll try again. Thanks for replying!

  7. May 17, 2010 8:42 am

    P.S. I think it’s great that you’re publizing this for Devan and his family. My father had a autologus BMT 3 years ago. It put his cancer in remission.

    I hope Devan’s match is found soon!

  8. May 26, 2010 3:15 pm

    Here from LFCA. Thank you for posting and getting the word out on marrow donation. My mom died from acute leukemia but before she died an anonymous donor went through the bone marrow harvest. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to the transplant but I am forever grateful for the sacrifice made by that person. I have been on the registry for years now and hope to one day be able to help a family out.

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