So earlier this year I saw a post about bone marrow donation on Reddit and sent off for a donation kit. I had to swab my cheek with a Q-Tip and send it in. I just received notification that I am a match. I called the Bone Marrow Donor Center and found out that the patient is a baby (all they could tell me is that they are under a year old) with leukemia. I go for a blood test next week to confirm the match.

The earliest I can donate is February, but could be several months after that as well. I won't have any expenses for the donation. All the travel, meals, and lodging is covered and if there are any complications (very rare) then I will fall under the patient's insurance for coverage.

If you aren't registered then please visit the link and send for a kit.

Pic for the skeptics and yes I am the one guy left that still uses Hotmail.

Edit1: Removed email address from pic.

Edit2: Something something Frontpage.

Edit3: There are two kinds of donation processes. One is surgical where they would put me under general anesthesia, make up to four small incisions above my hips, insert a hollow needle into my pelvis, and draw out up to a quart of bone marrow. The second option is similar to dialysis. You are hooked up to a machine for 3-6 hours, an IV line takes blood out of one arm, passes it through a machine that withdraws the blood stem cells, and returns the rest to your other arm.

I was told that since my patient is so young the doctor will probably request the surgery. Something about the stem cells being withdrawn from the pelvis is better for infants. Don't know, not a doctor.

The recovery time for the surgery is 2 days out of work and then take it easy for 2 weeks. The surgery should be an out patient procedure, possibly an overnight hospital stay.

Travel and expenses is covered for me and a companion to Georgetown University Hospital. The patient's insurance will cover the cost of the procedure and if I have any complications I will also fall under the patient's insurance.

Edit 4: While it is great that so many people are registering please only register if you are willing to donate. There are tons of stories of donors backing out at the last minute. If you don't know what that entails, they bombard the recipient with chemo for up to a week prior to the transplant to kill their bone marrow in anticipation of the donation. If the donor backs out at the last moment then the patient is left without an immune system and there chances of surviving are almost zero.

Edit 5: Made a new post, see Here

Comments: 968 • Responses: 11  • Date: 

junenovember250 karma

No questions, just want to thank you. Current leukemia patient halfway through transplant necessary for me, but what you're doing is absolutely amazing. Isn't it crazy how easy it is to save a life?

DonateYourMarrow222 karma

At most I will have 2 weeks of pain and discomfort and may get to save a life. Worth it.

roshroxx107 karma

I signed up a few months back, and 100% of the people that know have had the same reaction - "You know that hurts?!". I think it is so sad that pain for a few weeks at most gets more attention than the fact that a life would be saved. Saving a life? Worth pain.

DonateYourMarrow32 karma

Someone else posted a good reply to that:

"You know what else hurts? Leukemia."

junenovember32 karma

Totally worth it. If there was an opportunity to get in touch with your recipient or his/her family, would you like to do that?

DonateYourMarrow87 karma

I would like to know if it helped/worked more than anything.

rabbitlion22 karma

Lying in a hospital bed for 2 weeks while people bring you free food and are generally grateful doesn't seem all that bad, depending on what you are missing back at home.

DonateYourMarrow56 karma

I will only be in the hospital for a day, possibly overnight. They said I would be out of work for 2 days and would have to take it easy for 2 weeks.

yonemitsu89 karma

Also a registered donor here. I agree it is very much worth it even if it results in pain during the healing process.

Not to get too spammy but if you are Asian please consider registering yourself. We are the least likely to get matches because of low registration rates. There are registration drives happening all over the US all the time and a simple search will help direct you to one.

Since this is an AMA: uhh... are you getting comped from your employer for this? How long will you have to be away?

DonateYourMarrow48 karma

I just found out tonight at 5:30 and everyone was gone. I will ask if they will donate the time, but if not I have sick time I can take. Reading other people's stories the time out varies from 2 days to a little over a week.

vyme33 karma

I missed whatever post got you to register, and just now registered because of your post. Good job, buddy.

Oh shit, this is IAmA. So I guess I should ask a question.

Do you have any religious/spiritual/personal beliefs that have affected your decision to donate or how you feel about it?

Do you feel like you're doing something amazing, or just doing what should be done?

Are people around you acting weird about it in any way ("OMG YOU'RE SUCH A HERO" or "WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT FOR A STRANGER")?

That last one especially. My girl donated a kidney earlier this year (to her brother) and got incredibly sick of talking about it. But that was a several-year process, and this sounds very quick. Curious how acquaintances react.

DonateYourMarrow9 karma

No religious beliefs that influenced my decision.

I feel more like I am doing the right thing.

I find it strange that more people aren't registered.

curleysusie32 karma

For the uneducated (and lazy), what does the procedure entail?

DonateYourMarrow36 karma

For the procedure I will probably have to have they will put me under general anesthesia and make up to 4 small incisions in my back. They will then take a hollow needle and extract up to a quart of bone marrow to harvest for stem cells.

puredemo12 karma

Do they knock you out? I personally would prefer to be under for this sort of thing.

DonateYourMarrow4 karma

For the procedure they are telling me I will likely have yes.

tamar16 karma

So I have a question - can't you do this type of donation locally and avoid travel? Would they accommodate that?

DonateYourMarrow23 karma

That is what I asked, but she said they partner with certain hospitals and the closest to me is Georgetown outside of DC.

DJasko16 karma

Congrats, if I can say that! You seem to be saving a life, and in my book that is one of a few occasions to congratulate!

When you received the email, did you have second thoughts? How did you decide that you would actually go trough with it? I mean, it's a big decision to make. Did you ask any family members? Loved ones?

Thanks for this AMA!

DonateYourMarrow25 karma

I called my wife to make sure she was on board with traveling up there with me, but then I called the center.

alternafiction12 karma

They have Registration Drives at my college, I signed up at one. Feels good :) Thanks for helping out.

Would you ever consider hosting such an event? At work, a club, etc? I hear that if you get in contact with Be The Match and/or other Bone Marrow Registration organizations they come to where you are and will set up an easy station for anyone to come up and register.

DonateYourMarrow8 karma

I am seriously considering it now.