Be the Match

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I call this “life in a bag”. I panicked immediately when we realized a bone marrow transplant was in Jake’s future. What if we can’t find a match? The odds were not in his favor that his only sister would be a match. Thankfully friends from home immediately wanted to hold a bone marrow registry drive. I thought of Jake’s college- we have a strong support system. I contacted the Be the Match organization, and they were immediately on board. It came together very quickly, and our hometown group went above and beyond. I was able to attend the afternoon university drive. The Facebook parents’ group, the Dean of Students and the Pikes made sure every organization and residence hall and the local media were notified. My husband, the principal of our high school, attended the hometown registry that evening which took place during a basket ball game. The opposing team’s coach got in line to have his cheek swabbed for DNA and bought every kid on his team a #matchmeister t-shirt. The cheerleaders wore the t-shirts, and the gym was filled with matching t-shirts in support of Jake. They collected 400 potential donors in one day. Some of them have been contacted as potential matches. In most cases, being a donor has become pretty easy. Injections are given to help the marrow produce more stem cells. There is a line placed in each arm, and the blood comes out, is spun through an apheresis machine and given back to the donor.  I realized later that Jake had pretty good odds of finding a match- because he was white with white parents of Irish, Scottish and German descent. There is a dire need for mixed race/ethnic groups and minorities to join the registry.  A young woman was just on the news, and they couldn’t find a match for her. A husband was on the news and his wife had died because all 4 of her potential matches declined. We lucked out. We found out the day before the registry that Jake’s only sibling was a 10 out of 10 perfect match… For more information, go to www.deletebloodcancer.org or www.bethematch.org.

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