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Bone Marrow Donor

27 Nov

I did this a little while ago and never got around to posting about it. Waaaay back when I donated blood that got me a membership to the Canadian Blood Services website, where I can check in to see when I am next allowed to donate blood, make an appointment to donate blood, and well, read things blood related lol

When I got my membership card in the mail it came with a letter and somewhere on there it mentioned being a bone marrow donor. I didn’t know much about that, just some vague idea of what donating marrow involved, but I did know it saves lives and that there are never enough donors. Mostly I knew there weren’t enough donors because there are never enough donors for anything, blood, marrow, organs, you name it, people don’t like to donate it.

So I thought, meh, why not sign up to donate bone marrow. You can’t just willy nilly do that though. First you have to read a bunch of stuff, then you have to take a test to prove that you read all the stuff and understood it (or at least stored it in your short term memory so you could answer the test questions lol) and then you get sent a kit in the mail so you can send in your sample. Not quite as easy as donating blood but also not all that hard, shrug.

I read the stuff, I took the exam, I passed the exam with flying colours (it isn’t exactly hard) and I was told a kit would come to me in the mail for my samples. Now, it isn’t that I forgot about it exactly, but it kinda slipped my mind until about two weeks later when I got all this in the mail…

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They send you four cotton swabs, you use them to swab the upper and lower, left and right, of your cheeks, then you attach a bar code sticker to the stick, plunk them in the swab holder, put it all in a pre-paid envelope and stick it in the mail. According to the information they sent me if there is anything wrong with the samples I send in (say I did something wrong) they would send me another kit in the mail letting me know they needed me to re-swab the inside of my cheeks.

It took me a couple days, ok more like a week or so, to do all that once I had received it in the mail but at least I got around to it eventually! They did stress in the letter that once you have taken your samples to mail it back as quickly as you can so I made sure to not procrastinate with that part of it.

I haven’t heard from them since so I figure one of two scenarios played out (1) they did whatever it is they do with my samples, decided nope, we are not adding this looney girl to the database and destroyed them or (2) they did whatever it is they do with my samples, decided they were ok, and I am now in a database where one day I may be matched with someone who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Either way, I did all I can do, and now I can pretty much forget about it. Maybe one day I will be contacted but not like I am going to sit around constantly thinking about that, that’d just be weird lol.

I know donating bone marrow is not as easy as donating blood. There are two ways they collect your bone marrow and while one procedure is easier than the other both have minor effects on you and your body for a couple days or so, but I figure any discomfort I might go through is nothing compared to what a person who is in need of the transplant is going through.

Also, if they contact you saying you are a match you aren’t obligated to say yes. You can say no for any number of reasons (ex. you chicken out, it is a bad time in your life for the procedure to happen, you just aren’t sure you can go through with it, etc). The only thing they stress is that if you say yes, and the person needing the transplant has their system wiped then you really can’t back down at that point because you are pretty much condemning that person to death. They sugar coat it, but let’s face it, that is the reality.

I am in no way saying everybody should sign up to be a bone marrow donor, in fact, not everybody  can sign up. There are age restrictions. They didn’t really say why the age cut-off, and I don’t know if it means once you reach that age you are taken out of the data base if you were already signed up to be a donor, but there are restrictions. Also, they need an ethnically diverse data base and unfortunately they don’t have that. The most common donors are Caucasian males, I wasn’t sure they would want me since I am a Caucasian female but my being Caucasian didn’t seem to put them off, shrug. Buuuut I guess if asked I would say maybe read up on it, learn a bit about it, and if it seems like something you would like to do to help your fellow human being send away for the swab kit thingy and sign-up. It doesn’t cost you anything and who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to save a life!…and how cool would that be? 🙂

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One Response to “Bone Marrow Donor”

  1. VeeEmm November 27, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Thank you for doing that. Some day someone’s life may be saved because you took the time to care.

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