When I was in middle school my cousin was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was a shocking blow to our family, as cancer always is. I remember many of my older family members volunteered to be a marrow donor and I remember wanting to participate, but I was too young. It was a feeling that stuck with me even after she had passed and I vowed that if ever the opportunity arose again I would be first in line to offer.
But then I forgot.
See, life gets in the way and you forget the silly fancies you had as a child. Except this one isn’t silly. It just wasn’t prevalent in my life any longer. Until now. My cousin (a different cousin) has a little girl named Sunny and she is quite the courageous little spirit. Sunny was just recently diagnosed with Systemic Mastocytosis
this summer. This disease has no cure and one day, eventually, she will need a bone marrow transplant to reset her system.
Sunny is three years old.
Then her parents posted a link on Facebook to Be The Match
which allows you to sign up to be a marrow donor for anyone
in the world. That was all I needed to know. Suddenly that small child within me started screaming out “What are you waiting for!?” I could feel past me’s eyes burning into me as I looked around on the site. I didn’t feel relief from her until I finally clicked “join.”
Here’s something you should be aware of when you click to join the registry – they are going to ask you for a lot of personal information, your social security number included. And here’s why: Say you give them your current address and then move four times in the next 10 years. Then, say you come up as a match for someone in Boston who needs your marrow donation now. You haven’t updated your information with the registry – how are they going to find you? With your social security number they can ensure you are legally who you claim to be as well as track you down in the event that you are a match. There. Now you won’t be surprised.
After I filled out the “paperwork” online I waited for my kit to come in the mail. And viola! It came this last week!
“Buccal” means your cheek. Nothing scary here! All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek for 10 seconds with four different giant q-tips.
And you get to make super sexy faces while you do it. Note to self: don’t make direct eye contact with the camera!
All done! Absolutely painless!
You slap some barcode stickers on the stem and secure the q-tips in their packaging.
They’ve included a self addressed and pre stamped envelope for you to return your yummy cheek goop in. Mail it off as soon as you are done so that it can get to them quickly. It takes approximately two months to get your name on the registry. That’s two months someone could be waiting for you!
Here’s the bottom line:
It’s free to sign up.
It’s absolutely painless to get your tissue samples to the foundation.
You’re volunteering to help save someone’s life!
What have you got to lose?
To keep up on Sunny’s story, check out the family’s GoFundMe page, Sunny’s Super Heroes
! She was accepted to a program which specializes in Systemic Mastocytosis in Boston and the family is raising funds to help with her medical and travel bills.