I received my packet from Be the Match today. Essentially this is Step 2 in the process of becoming a part of the Bone Marrow donor registry.
It took me all of 3 minutes to open it, read it, swab my inner cheeks, and place it all in the self-addressed stamped envelope.
If you’re thinking about joining the registry, so far the process has been simple, straightforward and unobtrusive. I haven’t been swamped with emails asking for donations or anything else. It could be the most professional charity with which I’ve ever been involved.
The title of this resolution could be construed as somewhat deceptive since donating marrow is not like donating blood or sperm. With marrow donations you simply add yourself to the donor registry and if at some point in the future you are a match for a patient in need, then you will be called up to donate. It’s similar to registering for the draft or to be an organ donor. None are painful when you fill out the paperwork, but all require significant consideration before making such a serious commitment.
“If you match a patient, your commitment to donate is very important, but you have the right to change your mind. However, a late decision to not donate can be life-threatening to a patient. Please think seriously about your commitment before joining the registry.” – BeTheMatch.org
I mentioned that I was going to donate bone marrow to a friend and they said I was crazy. “I hear it’s incredibly painful,” was the reason they gave for avoiding it. Thing is, I’ll bet it’s even more painful for the patient who needs my marrow, but can’t find a donor. How painful must it be for the father of a 16 or 18 year old, like me, to know that their son or daughter has a life threatening disease and there isn’t a thing they can do about it? Could I face that man, hear his plea for my help and say, “I’m sorry I can’t save your child, Bud. They say donating could hurt for a few days.” I couldn’t, could you?
Today, I took the first step by registering online. Some time in the next 2 weeks I will be receiving a packet in the mail which requires me to take a few swabs from the inside of my mouth for them to analyze. Once it’s returned I am officially in the registry.