It happened so long ago I had forgotten all about it.
I didn't recognize the number when my cell phone rang that first week in October. Typically I would ignore the unknown caller. But this time I was curious. No wonder - I was told I had the chance to save a life.
Just after my Mom's death, I attended a benefit at which they were recruiting bone marrow donors. Knowing that minorities have a lower chance of finding a willing donor, I signed up. Then promptly forgot about my commitment.
Until last October.
The voice on the other line said I was a potential match for a little boy with leukemia. She asked if I would undergo further testing to determine if the patient's immune system likened mine. The rest of the conversation is a blur.
I immediately thought about not the child, but his mother. I know I would be devastated if Amara was diagnosed with cancer. And I could only imagine how desperate this mother was trying to find a match. I know I would do anything to save my own child. I guarantee this boy's mother hoped she would be a match. How awful it must have felt to standby so helpless. She must have prayed every day for a miracle.
So I agreed. And a few days later, I was told I was nearly an exact match. I was the miracle.
I was humbled. It goes without saying that not every registry member will be asked to donate. And here I was, given an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.
Harvesting bone marrow from a donor is outpatient surgery. The bone marrow is drawn from my lower back under general anesthesia. As I prepared for the big day, so did the little boy. Doctors needed to destroy his bone marrow cells with chemotherapy in order for him to receive my healthy stem cells.
Then it happened. I was no longer the miracle.
CONTINUE READING - Why I was willing to have surgery for a complete stranger