Bone Marrow Donation

By- Hitaishi Thakkar,

2nd Year MBBS, Terna Medical College, Mumbai

(Disclaimer: this story is a work of fiction, but is inspired by thousands of people having similar experiences in their lives)

It was a windy afternoon, I was taking a stroll in the neighborhood and that very second I felt a shooting pain in my joints, oh the unbearable pain! 

I somehow reached home entirely fatigued, wondering what was wrong with me.

I waited for the pain and fatigue to subside, but alas, it didn’t! 

The next day I went to the doctor and all hell broke loose when I got to know that I had acute myeloid leukemia.

Acute myeloid leukemia- it was a life a threatening situation and I needed an urgent bone marrow transplant.

What is bone marrow and why do I need it? I exclaimed

“Bone marrow is the soft spongy tissue inside your bones which makes the various blood cells”

So apparently, I had a faulty bone marrow that could be corrected if someone else donated their stem cells.

It was at that moment I realised the vulnerability of life, it’s fragile nature, the sense of being alive.

But I had to find a donor, a donor who’s “Human leukocyte Antigen” or what they call “HLA” matched with mine.

I had to check with the registry where a lot of good Samaritans had registered themselves for bone marrow donation.

One day I got a call, and Eureka! They found a match, a suitable match who’s HLA matched mine, they verified and called the donor, my angel, my life savior.

The blood sample from my donor was further matched with mine and declared safe for donation.

My donor, was then prepped for the process, and was given a daily 5- injection of Granulocyte colony stimulating factor ( G- CSF) 

On the day of donation, a bone marrow aspiration needle was inserted into the donor’s hip bone and the stem cells taken out and harvested.

These stem cells were then cultivated and then inserted in my body to save my life.

Thank you donor, for taking the general anesthesia, sorry it caused you headache and fatigue. You must have felt pain nominal side effects. I applaud your bravery, even though it wasn’t a surgical procedure, you endured the pain for an entire week, just to give me a new life.

I do not know your name, nor have I seen your face and will never know you personally, but I have in me, a piece of you, embedded in my bones, it flows through my blood and is pumped by the deepest chambers in my heart. I promise to honour this piece of you that you have given me.

God sent an angel to save my life and that is you!

Your one act of kindness is the reason I’m alive and writing this, I owe you my life and pray for your well being. You made me believe in altruism, the undying spirit of helping, 

As you read this patiently, someone is being diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and blood cancer (According to a study every 3 minutes a patient is diagnosed with a bone marrow anomaly)

As many as 70% of these patients don’t have a compatible family match and they must hope to find an unrelated donor.

The donor can be you!

YES, YOU!

Today on the occasion of, World Marrow donation day, I urge you to go and register for bone marrow donation.

You have the power to give the greatest gift- the gift of life.

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be their WORLD”

Be a real life hero and donate bone marrow.

Source: iStock

References:

https://bethematch.org/patients-and-families/before-transplant/find-a-donor/hla-matching/

https://bethematch.org/patients-and-families/about-transplant/what-is-a-bone-marrow-transplant-/

https://www.cancer.net/blog/2017-01/donating-bone-marrow-easy-and-important-heres-why

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/bone-marrow-transplantation

https://www.cityofhope.org/five-reasons-to-become-a-bone-marrow-donor

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