Hello Down There

It was 12 years ago on this day I donated bone marrow. I’m not sharing this story to garner praise. I’m no saint. I mock adults who wear Tigger sweatshirts and snub Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmas. I’ve found it’s best not to make eye contact. I usually pretend to be looking for my keys. Honey, if I gave money every time I left a store I would be broke.

I am not sure what possessed me to register as a bone marrow donor. I was living in New Jersey getting drunk all the time and sleeping around. Oh wait, that was Snookie. I was working as a nanny. On my day off I decided to go for a walk in my favorite park. Clearly, I was a wild and crazy gal! Unfortunately, crews were filming the TV Show “Ed” and the park was closed. So, I took a different route. Along the way I noticed a church was hosting a bone marrow drive. I kept walking. I drove halfway home when something told me to go back. I got a call a few years later. I was a match. I felt like I won the lottery. Yes, my idea of winning big is having a giant needle inserted in my bone. I wish they would have warned me that I would be lying face down, bare assed in front of a surgical team during the procedure. I would have ordered Buns of Steel. I don’t know if I would have worked out, but I would have ordered it.

I walked out of that hospital feeling like a million bucks. I knew the recipient was a child; a toddler. He was going to live because of me. I was his angel. It turned out I was wrong and he would be mine. That sweet baby passed away in the arms of his loving parents. I struggled with his death. I still do. My heart aches for his family. I found his parents on the Internet. I basically stalked them for selfish reasons. I needed to say I was sorry. I was sorry their baby’s body rejected my bone marrow. I was sorry I couldn’t help them. I was sorry I would never get to meet their little boy. Most people would have filed a restraining order. This family did the opposite and embraced me. They are incredible people. Every year on this date they thank me. I don’t feel worthy. I should be thanking them. Their strength, faith and love is inspiring. Plus, as far as I can tell, they don’t wear cartoon character sweatshirts.

I hope you will consider registering to be a bone marrow donor. You could be the person who gives a family a glimmer of hope in their darkest days. Better yet, you could save a life.

National Marrow Donor Program

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