Album here:

It was pretty cool and surprisingly easy. After I joined, they immediately called and said that I was a match and needed right away. All they can tell me is that it was for a 18 year old male from the United States. After a year, we can both agree to learn about one another, but you can keep it anonymous if you like.

The interesting part is that they can do directly from your blood stream in some cases (like mine). They gave me a drug each day for 5 days leading up to the procedure which caused my marrow to create excess stem cells which leak into my blood stream. When I have enough, they just run it through a machine and back into me over about 4 hours. Super easy and they treat you like royalty when you do it. Plus I got free candy.

TL;DR; It's easy and you can save someone's life.

Comments: 1088 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

captdung201 karma

Well done! I have just been matched with a 26 y/o male and they want to exstract the marrow from my hip. Not going to lie I'm not excited about being put under, but it can't be close to what he is going through.

Edit: It's cool the day I signed the papers to go ahead with the donation there was this thread, kind of funny actually. I was kind of nervous, but all u have made me feel more comfortable. Thanks!

bent_my_wookie85 karma

Congratulations! From everything I've read, it just feels like you've fallen on your butt afterwords.

Post about it when you finish it, I'm interested to hear how it went.

bent_my_wookie145 karma

Forgot the link in case you want more info:Link to the registry

kaunis38 karma

thanks for posting this, you encouraged me to sign up. I've been close to people with autoimmune disorders and I don't know why I haven't signed up for this. Thanks for giving the information to do it, and for donating.

bent_my_wookie17 karma

Awesome! Private message me if you have any questions.

Rae91287 karma

Good for you! Did you have any hesitation about doing it? Are you planning on requesting to learn about the recipient of your marrow?

bent_my_wookie87 karma

Thanks! I didn't hesitate because the procedure is totally safe, and some kid's life depended on it. That made the decision a no-brainer.

I was actually asked yesterday about whether or not I wanted to find out who it was, and I basically said "whatever the the patient is comfortable with".

All contact flows through the Marrow registry and not information is given out unless both parties consent, so I don't want bother them if they're more comfortable with keeping it private. I don't know why they would want to, but this kind of thing can be touchy.

Elimrawne33 karma

Wow, the reason Ive never signed up is because I thought they took it by drilling into your bones!

If its just like giving blood, its a no brainer!

bent_my_wookie25 karma

Well, make sure you up first. It's not the only way they do it now:

The FAQ has the official info

only_one_contact76 karma

I have been on the registry for years and have not yet been contacted. I hear it's actually pretty rare to be contacted at all. What is the peripheral collection procedure like? Where do they put the needle? Is it just like donating blood?

bent_my_wookie115 karma

In my case, the patient didn't have a match until I joined. So when they analysed my sample, they moved on it right away.

The collection is generally done though the arms, just like giving blood. The difference is that your right arm (where the machine collects blood) is held still the whole time, and the left arm (where the filtered blood is returned) can move around.

In my case, I didn't have big enough veins, so they stuck it little pipe into my neck (sounds scary but was actually easier). It freed up both of my hands which was kind of nice.

When they're done, they tilt me backwards and pull the pipe out then apply pressure for 15 minutes. After that it's all set and you go home.

only_one_contact45 karma

Thanks! Now I don't have to be scared.

bent_my_wookie80 karma

Glad to help, you can sign up here

linktoreality15 karma

Wow, your neck? When I donated one of my arms didn't have a big enough vein, so they just stuck me in the back of the hand with a flexible plastic needle.

bent_my_wookie21 karma

Yea, they checked mine and they were still too small. Meh.

minibeardeath66 karma

Fuck it! even though the whole needles thing (and esp the pipe in your neck!) gives me the heebeejeebes, I'm gonna sign up tonight. I have never given blood (needles again), but I guess if its just a swab in your mouth initially, then I can deal with needles later. Good job on donating and for getting me to sign up!

bent_my_wookie29 karma

Yep, that was my thought process. Once you're matched with someone, the whole needle thing becomes a non issue in your mind.

minibeardeath29 karma

Finished! I should be getting my swabs in 2 weeks!

bent_my_wookie14 karma

Nice! Good luck!

sarah-face30 karma

Thank you. A complete stranger may have just saved my dads life because he donated bone marrow. We're waiting to find out if it worked. It takes a few months to find out if the new bone marrow will take.

bent_my_wookie8 karma

Good luck!

atillathehunniee26 karma

That's cool! I signed up after reading about it through the Dear Jack Foundation. One of my favorite musicians, Andrew McMahon (Jack's Mannequin, Something Corporate), was diagnosed with leukemia and was saved with a stem cell transplant from his sister. His sister actually got sick from the drug they gave her leading up to the procedure. Did you have any side effects?

Did they tell you what the person was suffering from? Bone marrow is most often used for bone cancers (leukemia) but I think that it can help manage/cure some auto-immune disorders.

bent_my_wookie24 karma

So the first day they give you the drug, they watch you for about 30 minutes to make sure you don't have any allergic reactions to it. I didn't, and they sent me home.

The recipient has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. That's all they could tell me.

rwhockey2919 karma

My mom recently finished treatment for Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (yes, she had BOTH).

Thank you for doing this. I'll be signing up as well.

huhtamaki24 karma

I was trying to sign up to the New Zealand bone marrow registry, but apparently they only want Maori/Pacific Islanders. White guuuiiiilllllttttt.

bent_my_wookie7 karma

Send them a question about your circumstance. An person may have better information.

bmcfa24921 karma

I also signed up after reading a reddit post a few months ago. I haven't been called yet but hope I get the chance to help someone out. I'm glad to hear it was a pretty easy process and I hope for the best for that 18 year old boy.

bent_my_wookie16 karma

That's great, you already improved the odds for anyone in the future.

asandwich16 karma

Gonna get buried, but here goes, I have to join the Bone Marrow registry. I have to help. How did you do it? What all steps were required, and how long did it take to go from registration to donation?

bent_my_wookie8 karma

Great to hear!

here's where to sign up

The FAQ has the official info

I signed up online late January of this year, was matched mid March, and donated May 29th. This is particularly fast from what I understand.

Jennifrogger14 karma

That's awesome that you donated! :-) I joined the registry after watching a True Life documentary about it on MTV. I haven't been contacted yet, though. Anyway, my question is this: Did you have any side effects like nausea or headaches from the drug they gave you?

bent_my_wookie31 karma

Day 1 - Nothing Day 2 - Around mid afternoon I had a very slight back ache. Something I wouldn't have even notice unless I had been looking for it. Day 3 - Lower back ached a little more, so I popped a new ibuprofen and it was not an issue Day 4 - Back ache stuck around, similar to having a cold. My knees and legs also felt a little achy. A little uncomfortable. Day 5 - Donation day. They give it one last time, then you hop into a heated bed and watch movies while the donation takes place Day 6 - Today, already feeling better. I think by tomorrow I'll be 100%.

Overall, it's like having a moderate cold without the sore throat and runny nose. Overall totally worth it when you think about the good you're doing.

Jennifrogger10 karma

That doesn't sound too bad. I would totally do that if I'm ever needed. You're right in saying that it's nothing compared to what the other person is probably having to go through with cancer. Do you know of anyone who had to have their marrow extracted through surgery? If so, do you know if it's painful?

Also, if you were on the receiving end of a transplant, do you think you'd want to keep in touch with your donor? I definitely think I would. I'd probably feel a connection with them for the rest of my life.

bent_my_wookie15 karma

I don't know of anyone who had it surgically removed, however the process has gotten a lot easier over the years. They put you under and make a tiny cut where they can extract it. They said its comparable to having a bruise on your butt for a few days, like after slipping on ice.

Personally I would like to get into contact with someone who donated to me. That's generally what happens, but not always. It would be nice to hear from them, but maybe they just want to put it behind them... who knows.

VestaDear13 karma

My grandpa was one of the first people to donate bone marrow to my grandmother when she had Leukemia. She got sick when my mom was in elementary school and lived until I was in high school because of the transplant. That is an amazing thing you did, keep up the good work.

bent_my_wookie11 karma

That's great to hear, I only hope mine works that well.

clburton2413 karma

How do they find out if you are a match? Thank you for doing this, a family member of mine has non-aggressive, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma also.

bent_my_wookie20 karma

When you sign up, they send you a folder with 4 cotton swabs. You stick them in your mouth and rub it against your cheek for a few seconds. Then you drop them back into the folder, and place it in outgoing mail.

They do a genetic test to see if certain proteins are in common with patients, and if they see the right result, you're eligible.

GoDogGoFast12 karma

Way to go!!! I joined the registry about 20 years ago. If I ever get called upon to donate I'd do it in a second and would consider it one of the most important things I'd done in my life. I hope you feel that way! Out of curiosity, what is your race/ethnicity? I know it is often hard for them to find matches for people who are considered minorities (at least in the US) and for people of a mixed race due to lack of donors.

bent_my_wookie11 karma

White Male, Irish \ English. The website reiterated their need for minorities, however upon talking with the staff I heard a different story. They really want young males and females of any race.

The marrow has shown to be less effective as the donors age increases, so someone fairly young is a jackpot match.

Marimba_Ani5 karma

Can you define "young" in this context? Twenty? Under forty? Etc.


bent_my_wookie9 karma

FAQ for more info

And most relevant:

Q: Why are younger donors preferred? A: If you are between the ages of 18 and 44, patients especially need you. When more than one potential donor is a good HLA match for a patient, doctors will also consider other factors, including the donor’s age. Research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants. That's because younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors.

However, if you are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, you are still welcome to join the registry. To learn how to join the Be The Match Registry, see Join the Registry.

triplealpha10 karma

Quick question - is there any financial cost to you? Afterall, you are a patient in a hospital undergoing a procedure.

bent_my_wookie20 karma

Nope. They pay for absolutely everything. Transportation, testing, lodging (if you need it). They even offer to pick you up the day of the procedure if you don't have a ride. They're super accommodating and very focused on keeping you comfortable and working with your schedule.

It was a very nice experience.

Vetgurl9 karma


XDerp_ChrisX7 karma

Can you still donate blood through Red Cross while doing this or is there a wait period after you donate marrow that you cannot donate blood?

bent_my_wookie12 karma

I know for certain that you can still donate to the Red Cross afterwords, just not sure how long you have to wait.

The donation process takes a small amount of non stem cells which need to regenerate, so I assume there's at least a short time where you can't donate.

juandirection7 karma

This is really cool. As a 21 year old in good health I figured I might as well, you made it sound really easy and I don't see why I shouldn't. I hope I get called, from the sounds of it I have a pretty good chance (young and ethnic). You're awesome.

bent_my_wookie8 karma

Great! In case you need a direct link, here's where to sign up

hhhnnnnnggggggg7 karma

How did your wookie get bent?

Aramis6666 karma

Serious kudos to you for doing this. I was also chosen to donate bone marrow, though strangely enough the organization (DKMS) stopped calling me after I had donated additional blood to be tested, something I was told was merely routine. I don't know how well-acquainted you are with the process, but do you perhaps have a guess as to why DKMS never called back? I called back several times and never got a clear answer, and was always curious.

bent_my_wookie8 karma

No idea in your case, however I was told that they try to contact as many matches as possible to see who is still willing to donate. They choose the best candidate of those who said yes, and proceed with them.

duck8676 karma

So I've been on the registry for a yearish now, will they just call me if I end up being a match? I was always curious about that.

bent_my_wookie5 karma

They called initially to say that I was a likely match and to see if I was still interested in donation. After that, they followed up via email and called a few other times according to when I said I was free.

samuriwerewolf5 karma

I was going to sign up after the Reddit post about the little girl that needed a marrow transplant but then life got in the way until a couple weeks later they had a booth set up at my university next to the blood donation one and I couldn't not sign up.

Ready and waiting so to speak.

SESender4 karma

After recently finding out that a close family friend (he's turning 17 next month) has leukemia, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for what you've done, from the bottom of my heart. I have nothing really to say other than that you (and everyone else on the registry) are truly great people, and bring a tear to my eyes :).

Also, in keeping w/ the IAmA, Boxers or briefs?

bent_my_wookie3 karma

Boxer briefs. Best of both worlds.

Raevmu4 karma


bent_my_wookie15 karma

I'd say after day 3 of taking the drug, my lower back just felt like I had slept on it wrong. My legs also were a tad achy, but nothing that ibuprofen couldn't handle. Everyone is different, but it wasn't any worse than having the aches associated with a cold.

Not a big deal at all.

TurdHobo3 karma

On a scale of 1-10 how painful was the process?

bent_my_wookie6 karma

2.5 - Having a cold that makes your lower back ache a bit for a couple days. Add some ibuprofen and it's no big deal.