A few weeks ago I was watching MTV (don't judge!) when a new episode of True Life came on. The subject was people who needed transplants and I was intrigued. The episode was extremely emotional (watch it for yourself here and read more about it on MTV's blog here) but absolutely worth watching.
I was particularly touched by the story of Craig, who was undergoing a bone marrow transplant to treat cancer. His story hit close to home for me. Just months before I was born, one of my uncles passed away from Aplastic Anemia that may have been treatable with a bone marrow transplant when he was only 19 years old. Being that this was way back in 1983, only immediate family members were tested for bone marrow matches and unfortunately there wasn't a match in the family. So I've long tossed around the idea of becoming a bone marrow donor, but hadn't done the legwork of researching it and signing up. This episode was just the kick in the pants that I needed to make this idea a reality.
Once I visited the National Marrow Donor Program's website I realized just how easy it is to become a donor (and even donation itself doesn't sound like too much of an ordeal). First, answer a simple questionnaire to make sure you qualify. I was thrilled when I found out that I do qualify since I am not able to donate blood due to travel restrictions. Then fill out some basic information and they will mail you a kit to swab your cheek so your sample can be entered in the registry to look for matches. They do ask for a donation since it costs around $100 for the organization to add each new sample to the registry, but it is optional, tax deductible, and you can choose the amount you give. It was important to me to make the donation to join the registry. But if you are unable to donate or choose not to, join anyway because I think getting more people in the registry is the most important thing.
Our kits should be arriving in about a week and we're super excited for them to arrive. I'll keep you posted on how joining the registry goes, but in the meantime I think you should head on over to http://www.marrow.org/ and check it all out for yourself!