This holiday season, I want to encourage you to give a few gifts that will have a lasting impact. Be The Match is currently selling special holiday items, where proceeds will help fund their mission. For 25 years, Be The Match has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, giving hope to thousands diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Be The Match is a cause so close to my heart because I was once a match, myself.
When I was in college, my professor asked us to sign up for this bone marrow bank and we'd get extra credit for our advertising class. Score. I got my kit, swabbed some DNA, sent it off and got my extra credit. Gone and forgotten!
Not too long after, I was shopping in a mall by myself and got a call from a friendly voice telling me that my initial swabs matched a middle-aged woman with cancer and asked if I'd be willing to get further blood tests. I agreed and planned a blood test at a local hospital.
"Emotional" is the only way I can describe that moment. I was overwhelmingly happy for this woman I didn't know, yet scared out of my mind too (which, in hindsight is silly because there's no reason to be). I kept walking through that mall aimlessly, crying my eyes out as I explained on the phone to my mom about the call. She came to hold my hand during my blood tests. I was a happy, tearful wreck.
I got the additional testing done and a few weeks later, I received a confirmation call that I was definitely her match. They explained to me that her status had changed, though, and she no longer needed my marrow. They couldn't give anymore details than that. Of course, the status-change can mean two very different things, but I've always prayed that it was for the good. That's she's a living miracle. That she's in remission. That she's with her family. That she'll never need new bone marrow again.
Even though I wasn't able to donate at that time, I'm grateful that I'm an option if I'm ever a match again. From the selfishness of needing that extra credit in class, to forever being changed as I cared so deeply and prayed for a total stranger I didn't know; Be The Match has shaped my life for the better.
I hope that you'll consider joining Be The Match and becoming a part of the marrow registry. Using our healthy bodies while we're able is so important to helping others. Being in a bit of pain for a day or two would be completely worth curing (completely curing) cancer for someone.
If you're unable to join the registry at this time, check out the online store and buy some gifts with lasting effects. Here are a few of my favorite items: