After hearing ‘Good Morning America’s’ Robin Roberts’ story about breast cancer and subsequently MDS and after reading the amazingly talented Suleika Jahoud’s journey as a young adult with cancer (“Acute Myeloid Leukemia) (I am in awe of this incredibly beautiful and amazingly talented young woman) in the Science Times (Tuesdays of The New York Times) I wanted to do more than write a check for cancer research. I wanted to give something of myself; I ordered the free bone marrow kit and received the four swabs that came in the mail. I thought I would get the swabs and swab my cheeks that night but I found myself not doing that. Was I procrastinating or just thinking? Actually, I was just taking it all in. I did the swabs last night, with my husband overseeing it, and the envelope now sits in our bright red mailbox, flag raised, waiting to be picked up.
I’ve always wanted to do this and for years thought it was expensive, painful and really didn’t know how to go about getting the information for the bone marrow donation kit. Because of the Robin Roberts’ story, it was advertised and thus readily available. Sure, I give money, when I can, to cancer research, but this was personal. If I could help someone live, my G-d, I would do it. Imagine the feeling of giving someone the opportunity to live out their life, so they can marry or live to see their children grow up or have a new life because you are helping them. I can’t imagine NOT doing it, can you?
I’ve always been an organ donor, especially since my father-in-law had a liver transplant before I even dated my husband. If it wasn’t for his liver transplant he would never have seen us date and get married, meet his grandchildren and watch them graduate from high school and go off to college. This November we will all be here together celebrating Thanksgiving; how could I not be an organ donor?
My goal in life was to be a good mother and I think I achieved that. My two children are grown now, at 18 and almost 20. I am so proud of them, of the people they have become. But, this is one more chance to help a person in the world. If we are a match, dear stranger, I will step up and do you proud. I will put aside all my fear of pain and discomfort and I will try to make your dreams come true. I will donate my bone marrow. If it doesn’t work, yes, I will be sad, but at least I will know that I tried to help.
I watched the shiny red mailbox on and off all day and only when the flag of the mailbox was lowered, when the mail had been picked-up, did I sigh with relief and smile, knowing, at least, I had followed through and given someone, somewhere, like a bright star in a dark night, a tiny speck of hope.
DEDICATED TO ROBIN ROBERTS AND SULEIKA JAHOUD