Erin’s wish at 15 becomes a reality

Posted June 22nd, 2011 by admin and filed in Donor Stories

Erin’s donation story, in her own words:

Inspired to join the registry by baseball great Rod Carew’s daughter

Back in the spring of 1996, I remember being emotionally affected by the news coverage of baseball player Rod Carew’s daughter who was dying of leukemia. The media was desperately making pleas for people to join the Be The Match Registry® (called National Marrow Donor Program® Registry at that time) in hopes of finding a donor not only for his daughter, but also for other patients in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Erin, PBSC donorThat year, all I wanted for my 15th birthday was to join the marrow registry, but I found out that I could not join the registry until I was 18. I was disappointed, but shortly after my 18th birthday, I joined the registry and the wish I made on my 15th birthday was finally fulfilled.

Contacted eight years later

In April 2008, eight years after joining the registry, I was contacted by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) on behalf of a 14-year-old boy who was in need of a marrow transplant. I learned that I was identified as a potential match based on the initial screening tests and subsequently went through additional testing, for which I gave some blood samples. I was also told that other potential donors were contacted for additional testing as well, so I simply waited.

Called as a match

At the end of May, I was contacted by the NMDP. The donor center representative left a message on my cell phone that said, “Erin, the doctors have decided that you are a perfect match for this patient.”

The first step to becoming a donor was to attend an information and counseling session. The donor center representative made sure that I still wanted to proceed with the transplant and that I was mentally stable enough to undergo the process, I guess!

The second step for me was to meet with a physician for a physical exam to ensure that I was healthy enough to undergo surgery. I passed my physical exam and the transplant date was set for July 10.

Donation postponed, feelings of guilt

Everything seemed to be on schedule until June 27. I was sad to learn that the patient’s condition deteriorated and he was now battling a type of leukemia that he did not have before. He would have to undergo additional chemotherapy and radiation treatment before receiving the transplant. I was told that the transplant would be postponed for approximately two months.

Initially, when I heard that the patient’s disease had progressed to leukemia, I was ridden with an unnerving sense of guilt. Somehow, I felt that I had failed this child and that if we could have just done the transplant sooner, this would not have happened. During my first counseling session, I was told by the donor center representative not to become emotionally attached to the patient or situation, that I did not give this child the disease and that I was doing everything I possibly could for him. That is easy to say, but much harder to make yourself believe, especially when there is a 14-year-old child involved.

The more I began to pray about this situation and acknowledge God’s perfect timing for everything, the more the guilt was released from my spirit. I came to accept the fact that I had done all that I could do and that the most important thing I did was answer the initial request for donation and gather the strength and courage to proceed.

Donation rescheduled

At the end of October, I got the call I had been waiting for saying that the recipient and his family were ready to proceed with the transplant again. The new donation date was set for November 24th (and 25th). The doctors no longer wanted me to go through the surgical marrow donation, but the peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation instead, which, unfortunately, required more of a time commitment on my part and had a more intense preparation. The recipient’s physicians thought that due to the change in his condition in July, he would be less likely to reject the PBSC than the marrow.

Not that I was looking forward to the surgical procedure initially, but that definitely seemed like an easier procedure than the PBSC collection, especially since I would have been sedated! Truthfully, I was a little concerned about the time that would be required for the PBSC donation and whether I would be able to stay still on both days with needles in my arms for four to six hours. I had said, however, that I would do whatever was in the best interest of the recipient and I intended to live by those words.

Injections to prepare for donation

The donation and transplant took place during the week of Thanksgiving, as planned. Five days before the transplant, I began a series of daily injections of a stem cell stimulant that would promote blood stem cell maturation and the movement of those cells into my bloodstream. A home health nurse came to my condo every morning to give me two shots of this medication. That stuff burned! I have always been able to tolerate needles/injections pretty well, but even I almost jumped out of my chair after the first injection! Thankfully, over time, the injections became less painful.

Donation day one

On the morning of the first day of the donation, I woke up, got down on my knees, and prayed. I asked God to give me the strength to go through with this procedure, not knowing exactly what was going to happen. My dad accompanied me to the hospital and when we arrived, we were greeted by Ms. Karen, the nurse who took care of me, and Ms. Eileen, my donor center representative. After the procedure was fully explained to us and I was comfortable in the bed, I was given the last set of injections.

Immediately after receiving those shots, an IV and return line was placed in my right arm. My left arm was the “draw” arm from which the blood would be extracted. When Ms. Karen was inserting the draw line, she “blew my vein,” meaning that she went all of the way through the vein. That vein could no longer be used and she had to stick me again to find another vein. Needless to say, I was not happy with Ms. Karen, but I felt bad because she was so apologetic and really nice. After a few more minutes, I was completely hooked up to the apheresis machine and the donation process began.

Throughout the procedure, 12 liters of blood circulated through the machine. The machine spun my blood in a centrifuge, separated the stem cells from the blood, and then returned the rest of the blood back to me. The stem cells accumulated very, very slowly in the collection bag. Due to various factors, it took five and half hours for the collection process to be completed on the first day. The most difficult part about the procedure after being hooked up to the machine was being still for several hours. I was not in any pain, but I really wanted to move my arms and I could not do so.

It was also quite humbling, yet incredibly comical having my dad help me eat and drink. He can turn any situation into a funny one, and this was no exception! After the donation process ended for the day, I was unhooked from the machine and finally able to move my arms. In terms of how I felt, I was just really, really tired and experienced a fairly intense tingling/numbing sensation that was caused by the anticoagulant I was given.

Donation day two

The second day of the donation procedure was the same as the first. Although I knew what to expect, the needle sticks were more painful. I think that my veins were just tired from the previous day. Approximately three hours into the procedure on the second day, the access pressure in my left vein dropped below what was considered acceptable for donation and Ms. Karen pressed down on the needle in my arm trying to restore the pressure, and that was PAINFUL. Even though she was trying her best to avoid having to remove that needle and stick me again, it hurt. I did not want another needle stick either, so I was praying that my vein would cooperate and hold up for the last two hours. Thankfully, after several attempts to reposition the needle, the pressure increased and I was able to avoid another needle stick.

I was not as tired and did not experience the same level of numbness/tingling at the end of the second day, which was great.

Liquid gold

The total amount of cells that were collected was about half a liter. It is amazing that it took so long to collect 250 milliliters per day. I remember looking at the cells in the collection bag after day one and Ms. Karen said to me, “That is liquid gold.” Yes, the cells were straw in color and did have almost a golden-like appearance, but that phrase was referring to much more than the color of the cells. For the recipient and his family, those cells were truly worth more than gold. Those cells literally meant life or death.

The answer to somebody’s prayer

On the Sunday before the transplant, my pastor made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “Lord, help me to be the answer to somebody’s prayer.” I thought about this statement for a while. Maybe I was the answer to this boy and his family’s prayer. If so, what an incredible charge that I was granted.

Editor’s note: More than a year after the transplant, Erin and her recipient both signed consent forms agreeing to share their contact information. She has since spoken with her recipient by phone and learned that he was doing well, returning to school and regaining health.

141 Responses to “Erin’s wish at 15 becomes a reality”

  1. Wilhelmina says:

    Erin, I am so proud of you for going above ad beyond,the call of duties.I wish there were more people like you.When I was 14yrs.old my mom.were diagnosed with “Bone Cancer” and she never told me exactly what was wrong with her..until the days up onto her death.She made me promise to finish school and if I have any kids to take care of them like she did with me.I was afraid of being alone.And I often wonde if someone like you was out there to give her bone marrow would her situation have progress?She died in September 1985..she left me an three older sisters.It was hard on me at first but,now at 40,am Copeing! Thank You again for caring!!

    • Marie says:

      Erin you are great , and brave , and your faith and believe took you far, u are my idol , and your story has helped me so much I have been on the registry for over a year like yourself hoping and waiting and wonder if someone will ever need me , so recently I saw a add where this man needed a kidney very badly he wife was a perfect march but day of surgery as they put her to sleep she died of a blood clot to the lung and wasn’t able to save her husband she lost her life I was so moved by that I inquired about helping I talked to the gentle man who needs the kidney and found out that my blood type could be a match ,but I want to help him but Im very scared I have children and I don’t want anything to happen to me and they Lose there mother ,but my heart wants to help this man so I called the donor nurse and made arrangement to get tested to be sure but I’m scared because I feel connected to helping him he has a 15 year boy and he is the only family his son has so I have a feeling I will be his match but I’m afraid and my husband is fearfully for me and mad that I would do this , but I said how can someone not without this kidney he will die I can’t be responsible for that so Erin story gave me strenghth tks Erin !

      • Jean says:

        Marie and Erin,

        My husband recieved a kidney transplant. I believe that God has put angels on this earth when the rest of us need help. I think that the two of you are angels!
        Jean

      • Jodie says:

        Marie,

        I think you are doing the right thing & I hope your husband will come to understand. I am on the marrow registery & hope to be called one day. About a yr & a half ago I called Emory University & told them I would like to donate a kidney to anyone who needed it. After a lengthy process of testing I was accepted as a potential donor. I thought I would donate to someone & that would be it. The doctors said that they rarely get an altrusitic donor & wanted to establish a donor chain. I will give to someone on the list, the receipent will have a family member or friend who will give to someone else on the list, and so on. That way 4 or 5 people will receive a transplant. A chain was established & a date was set, but then it was called off. I don’t know if a donor didn’t pass last minute screening or if the receipent got ill. I have agreed that I will not know any details about who I give to or about the others on the chain. Another chain was established but it too broke. This has happened 3 times. I believe that maybe I am supposed to learn patience from this experience – not my strong suit. Whenever Emory calls I will be ready. Marie, I am apprehensive like you. No one wants to have surgery, but usually a kidney donation can be done laproscopically with 2 small incisions. I will be nervous but I am going to have faith that I am doing the right thing.I will keep you in my thoughts and I hope you have someone in your life that understands your decision and supports you.

      • Neill Blake says:

        Marie, God bless you for wanting to help the man in need of a kidney. I was a kidney donor 9 years ago for a mom in our church that I did not know prior to being tested for the transplant. I truly believe God orchestrated the entire thing and it was a miraculous success. Like Erin, we had to wait for God’s timing and the patient got sicker and sicker. I would be pleased to discuss the procedure with you as I had three young boys (ages 8, 11 and 13) when we had our transplant and had some of the same concerns that you expressed. I can honestly tell you that I have never even missed the kidney and don’t feel one bit different without it. The recipient and I are now close friends and attend Jazzercise and hike mountains together. Who would have thought that this gal who was at death’s door would ever be able to do anything physically demanding again? God allowed me to be used to give her the gift of life and we are both forever greatful! Praise God!!

    • Doug Hodges says:

      I have been on the registry for 15 years and it’s stories like these that make me realize why…You really can be a hero and save someones life God Bless You Erin!!

  2. Wendell says:

    I love your honesty. You are TRULY a heroine!

  3. Patricia Sullivan says:

    I joined as a registered bone marrow donor several years ago following the television appeal of the family of a 5 year old girl who was in need of a bone marrow transplant. I have not been called to donate yet. Please consider becoming a registered bone marrow donor, becoming a registered bone marrow donor is easy & what an opportunity to give & save a life. Now, that’s making positive difference in the world!!!

    • Owen Wells says:

      Patricia Sullivan-
      I thought you would like to know that Kailee Wells, is now living a normal life as a teenager getting straight As. I hope you are well? Thank you for caring for Kailee and others like her!
      Sincerely, Owen Wells, Dad of Kailee

  4. Leticia says:

    Wow Erin, what an amazing and honest recount of your courage to help save someone’s life. I have been on the registry for almost 16 years, inspired by the controversial case where parents of a teenage daughter with leukemia decided to have another child in hopes of that child being a match, which she was and saved her sister’s life. In addition I joined because there was a tremendous need for hispanic donors. I have yet to be a match, but your story encourages me to continue to hope that one day I too can save a life. I loved your honesty about the procedure.

  5. MM says:

    Thanks for this information – I’m registered but really wasn’t aware of the entire process. Your story answered that question. If I’m ever called, I’ll remember your courage. Cool.

  6. Steve Beach says:

    Erin, I applaud your desire and determination to extend yourself like this to help a fellow human. My son has been in treatment for acute lymphoblastic T-Cell leukemia for the past nearly three years and another six treatments yet lie ahead. Jason responded to traditional chemo and radiation therapy and has not needed a stem cell transplant and pray he never does. God bless you.

  7. Helen P says:

    Erin, I met Mr. Carew soon after his daughter died, and when I told him I had signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry he was thrilled. Although it was too late for his daughter, he knew that she had brought attention to the cause. I have no doubt he would be overjoyed to learn that his family’s suffering had led to you saving this other young person’s life! Thank you!

  8. Rissy says:

    Erin,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You truly are an inspiration! My husband and I joined the registry several years ago after finding out that my cousin was battling leukemia. She, fortunately, was matched with a donor and is currently in remission. We are so grateful that there was somebody out there willing to give her a second chance at life! I only hope that I can give someone this same gift one day if I am a match.
    Thank you again for being such a positive role model. You are a very special person.

  9. Janet Lovette says:

    Years ago…… maybe 10 or so, I registered along with over 100 other people at our church for a little boy. Do you know how can I find out if I’m still on it and whether or not they have my address/contact information?

    • Danny says:

      Janet: go to http://www.bethematch.org, find “contact us” and make a phone call. They’ll help you out!

    • Tracy K says:

      Janet,
      I recently became registered and was told that once you are on the list you will always be on it until age 61 (I think that is the cut off age).

      • Sue L. says:

        Janet,
        I have been on the list for 12 or 13 years and was called once for blood tests, but I wasn’t a close enough match. I learned recently that the cut off age is 60 (not sure if that includes the year between 60 and 61), and I was disappointed to hear it, because I’ll be 60 in 6 months. If God wills, I’ll be ready.

  10. Pollyanna says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from! I was called in 1996 to be preliminarily tested to be a marrow donor but, at the time, was just three years out from a two-level spinal fusion. Back surgery within five years made me ineligible. My thought was, “I feel fine, and you’re telling me I can’t have the opportunity to save someone’s life???” I also deal with fibromyalgia, which generally is under control. I have since learned that it is a deferral factor as well. I don’t understand why… I am thankful there are people like you who are able and willing to donate, and wish there was a way some of us who are also willing could!

  11. Guru says:

    Erin, I Thank God that there are people like you who care and are willing to go beyond the norm to help others. I have been a registered member for past 2 years. I hope to be of help to someone someday AND I hope I will handle the situation as bravely as you did. May God Bless You.

  12. Lidia says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are inspiring.

  13. Brenda says:

    Erin, what a wonderful thing you have done. I’ve been on the registry for over 10 years and truly hope that I am able to help someone. When I was pregnant with my son, I read an article about a young child who was fighting cancer, but had no match. I couldn’t imagine what I would do as a parent if that happened to me. That is what prompted me to sign up. My 18 year old daughter has now also registered. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Wendy says:

    Great to hear of how God is blessing this family and little boy through you. Thank you for your willingness to be the match for this little guy!

  15. marckle myers says:

    erin. thanks for sharing your story. i signed up after being inspired by my friends successful transplant. just before i read your story i was talking to my boyfriend about how scared i would be if they called me..but that i would never consider not donating if i were to be called. we even talked about the process…and then i go to read my email and there is your story ..to assure me all will be well if and when i am called to donate!
    many thanks for your courage and inspirational words!

  16. Kathleen says:

    Dear Erin and other current or potential bone marrow donors …

    First of all, thanks for your openness and honesty in writing about your experiences. Although I detest needles, I would definitely donate if ever called. I have been on the registry for over 20 years. I was called once for additional testing, but apparently was not the best match after that testing. I would find it difficult not to become emotionally involved. The chance to save a life is something I would do regardless of my concerns about needles or discomfort. I would, however, like to borrow your dad if I am ever called! To the person who asked about finding out if they’re still on the registry, just contact Be the Match. I get periodic e-mails from them and they’ve followed me through several moves with no work on my part. I have been following the story of Alice Pyne and her bucket list that went viral … her number one goal is to get everyone to be a bone marrow donor. She is an exceptionally positive individual who I believe is saving many lives with her efforts. Google her name and you’ll find her blog. (Don’t use the Facebook link as there have been “imposters” who won’t release the page(s) in her name.) Those who cannot donate for whatever reason (age, physical conditions, etc.), can talk to friends and family and encourage them to sign up. For some reason, the age requirements are more lax in the states than overseas. I would hope that everyone who can would consider registering … especially those who are minorities, for which I understand there is a much greater need. Please consider the impact you can have on not just the patient’s life, but on his entire family’s. Talk about being able to make a real difference in the world …

  17. Veronica McCall says:

    Erin, I can’t tell you how proud me & my family are and your entire Fifth Baptist Church family!! For your bravery, and your strong determination to help others since a very young age! Continue on your positive path in life & God will ALWAYS bless you richly my dear!!

  18. Dave Oakley says:

    Erin,

    My wife and I learned back on March 31 that she has ALL leukemia. At first transplant was mentioned as something “down the road if at all”. Since then we have learned she has a Philadelphia+ chromosome and that that needs to be fixed. Se are currently waiting on her brother and sisters to be typed for a match.
    Praise God that you were obedient and willing to His moving. What a blessing.
    David

  19. Teresa Davis says:

    What a great story and you told it so well! Two years ago, I was blessed and honored to have the opportunity to answer the prayers of a 4-year leukemia patient and her family. I went through the surgical marrow donation procedure. The whole experience – from the first phone call to the procedure – was WONDERFUL! I would do it again with no hesitation.

  20. Paul Knabenshue says:

    Erin,

    Your story is inspiring. I really appreciate your description of the peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation process. It is much better than the information in the pamplets! I am also on the Marrow registry with Be The Match – and hope to someday be called upon to save a life. It would be an amazing experience!

  21. Erin Alexander says:

    Erin– what a blessing you are to this boy. I hope that your story inspires others to join the donor registry in hopes of getting the chance to donate. You have shown such an overwhelmng act of kindness.
    Your story also brought back vivid memories for me. In 1995, my only brother was diagnosed with CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) and was only given 3 months to live. Luckily, I was an identical match for him and donated periphral blood stem cells for his transplant.
    If I was ever called to donate again–I’d do it in a heartbeat.
    God bless you.

  22. doug says:

    I went on the list for a co-workers Grandson in 2004. I forgot I was on the list until about 2 months ago when I was advised that I am a match for someone. I am finished with the pre-testing, and should be donating in Sept. After all the quick research I have tried to do on the process, your story really gave me a feel for what I will experience (I am doing the same procedure). Thanks for sharing the story. When this is over, I plan on spreading the word to encourage others to get on the list….

  23. Misha says:

    Erin,
    Erin,
    Your strength was such a blessing to the recipient and his family. You were the answer to someone’s prayer! I like that and will take that forward into my own life. I too am on the donor list, for maybe 10 years now. I have never been called. Hopefully, whether it be as a donor or in another form in my life; I hope to also be an answer to someone’s prayer. The gift that you have given will allow this boy to go forward and be an answer to someone’s prayer as well. The circle continues.
    Thank you for your gift of life!
    Misha

  24. Walter Kookesh says:

    Hello Erin, thank you for sharing your story. I too am about to donate through the same procedure you have just spoken of. Your story has eased some of the anxiety i have been feeling regarding my procedure. I am set to donate on Thursday the 21st of July 2011. I wasnt sure what to expect but i did know the pain would be worth the reward. Again i thank you for sharing your experince, it has helped in preparing me for what is lying ahead.
    Sincerly
    Walter W. Kookesh, Alaska

  25. Bunny says:

    Erin,
    You are such a brave person. Your story will inspires lot of people who are not registered yet. I’ve been registered for past 6 years and not been matched yet. In the future I may get chance to give live to somebody. But I can honestly tell you were a angel.
    May god bless you.

  26. Jill Chrisco-Brown says:

    Erin- Your story is amazing. I have been in the registry for quite a while now, and I, like you did, hope to someday help and save a life. You will certainly inspire others to be as giving and as unselfish as you have been. God Bless you!!!!

  27. Gina says:

    Erin-

    Thank you for your honest account of your donation. I am currently a potential match for a 38 year old woman. I’m waiting to find out if I’m a close enough match to move forward.

    Although reading part of your account scares me (the pain, for example), I’m relieved to have more information so there won’t be as many surprises.

    Thanks again!

  28. Joan says:

    I have been on the list for over 12 years. I was a first match, but it went no further.

  29. Ramnik Singh says:

    Erin, your whole experience educated a lot. I salute your courage. I’m also regitered and hope someday I’ll be contacted to save someone’s life.

  30. Lori says:

    Erin – you are truly a blessing and thank you for sharing your story. I too was called to be a donor about 2 years after signing up to be a donor for a little girl living on our Island. I had prayed to the Lord that I be used to do a humanitarian act. I was at a point in my life where I felt I was ready to do something beyond the norm. So, a few months later I got a call from the Bone Marrow Registry and was told that I was a 100% match for a one (1) year old boy who had Leukemia. I needed further lab work to be done to check if I was still a potential donor and the answer came back as yes. I was the only 100% match. I ended up donating peripheral blood stem cells a few months after that. Reading about your story brought back so many memories. Reading everyone’s comments is also a blessing, it is nice to know there are so many blessed, brave people around us. Your story is a great encouragement for other registered donors – when you get the call, it is a big decision, but you know what, it is well worth it.

  31. Teri Swinton says:

    Erin this was such a moving experience. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope to one day share my ‘match’ experience. But if not, it sooo good to see that there is still care in the world. I applaud you for your courage and committment that many of us have and look to maintain- I’ve ben on the registry for a little over 2 years and hope to ‘get the call’.Good luck to you!!!! And Erin, if you are reading, thanks so much for allowing your story to be heard and just to let you know- you are very bravvvveee!!!!! I know you are an amazing young man and wish you much love;-) xoxox

  32. Lisa Light says:

    Erin, What a timely and beautiful story. My husband was diagnosed with MDS 6 months ago and has been given the go ahead for his transplant in August. We have often wondered about the donor who will be giving him such a wonderful gift and what he/she will experience when donating. Thank you so much for your moving story. I hope and pray that it will inspire others to do what you have done and to do it with the grace that you have. May God bless you as you have others….

  33. Shelley says:

    Erin- God Bless you!! I decided to sign up in celebration of my 50th birthday. I wanted to thank God for having no health challenges and to give to someone who had. I pray that before I turn 51 in February that God uses me in a mighty way like he has you. You latter days will be your best yet. I thank you for being so unselfish and having that spirit at an early age. Your parents should be extremely proud of you. Continue to be a blessing. Maybe in your life time you will be able to be a double blessing. Love you

  34. Catrina says:

    Erin, Thank you so much for your article. After registering in 2008 for a family friend, I finally got my call June 2011 that I was a potential match. I’ve done the add’l bloodwork and now in the sit, wait and see phase. Your article has been a great help in what to expect. The day of my notification I had JUST recommitted online with updating my contact information and said my usual prayer to God asking “I’m willing and able, why can’t I be a donor for someone.” Three hours later I got my call. God is truly amazing!

  35. Randy says:

    I too was called to donate after being on the Registry for 18 years. I originally joined the registry during a local blood drive to save a girl named Janessa. A donor was never found for Janessa but her inspiring story prompted us to name our new-born girl after her.

    Six years ago my mother was diagnosed with leukemia and the doctors gave her only one week to live. Fortunately God still had plans for my mom and today she is cancer free.

    Two years ago I was matched with an unknown leukemia patient. I also donated stem cells. For me the whole process was simple. It is possible that I have forgotten some of the bad stuff (just like women who get over child-bearing). For me it was about making my life count. Things were not going well for me at the time so when I learned that I could help to save a life, there was no hesitation. I have since learned that my gift saved the life of a 62 year old lady. Apparently, God was not finished with her or I.

    Thanks for your story. I needed a chance to re-live mine.

    God Bless

  36. Avon says:

    I too started to feel intimidated, if not outright scared, at reading an honest account of the physical and emotional difficulties or setbacks that can occur. Yet, as soon as I read those lovely words about the half-liter of liquid gold that means life or death, I was overcome by humility because the truth was so immediately and completely obvious: saving a life is totally worth any such difficulties.

    Funny how a story of doubts and troubles has inspired so many commenters to be more ready and willing, not less. But the fact is, triumphs are measured not just by the reward, but also by the adversity that is overcome. I’d be proud now to be part of a huge triumph. And I’m glad the Registry recognized that, and sent us Erin’s story!

  37. Dave says:

    Amazing story from an amazing person! I have been registered for about a year now. Having lost a sibling to leukemia, I know the importance of the gift that you gave. I am waiting and hoping for my chance to be able to give as well. Thank you for being there for that family.

  38. Bibiana says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, now I know what is coming when my turn arrive. You are special. God bless you. I hope my time will come soon. I’m ready. will be as having a baby again. :)

  39. Joe says:

    I donated PCSC four years ago. I have to say the days before were a little painful because of the added pressure in my major bones but I just kept telling my self that I wasn’t going through anything that my receiver was going through. congrat on doing what you did and remember you saved a life.

  40. Jennifer says:

    What a blessing to know you answered a prayer! I am a registered donor. I have not been called to answer a prayer yet.. I am hoping God answers mine first….that all types of cancers are, for lack of better words CURED!

  41. Cathleen says:

    Your amazing gift of love, courage and determination helped save a life. You are a blessing!

  42. Thanks for sharing your testimony. I am a registered donor and awaiting to be that match for someone. Reading your testimony has inspired me that much more to continue. Thus far I have been close but not yet to being that match for someone.

    God Bless You, other donors and the Receipiants. Also your Father for being with You.

    • Erin says:

      Just so you know, my mom was there too on the second day! She just didn’t make the story! :-)

      • Diane says:

        Wonderful story, Erin. Not only was this young boy blessed to have your bone marrow, but you were equally blessed to be able to share this gift.

        To all those people who have endured a long wait to be called to donate bone marrow, there is something else you can do. Every two weeks, a person can donate platelets. The Apherisis procedure takes about 2-3 hours, and the golden platelets are tested and quickly given to those in need.

        My husband died 9 years ago, and although a bone marrow donor was never found for him, he had constant need for platelets. A blood type match is not necessary. Once at the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, I memorized the number on the donation bag while I was donating, and was ELATED to see my own platelets later being given to my husband. They were super-charged with love.

  43. Bailey says:

    Erin- You go, girl! You are not only an answer to that young man’s prayers! Your story is an answer to my prayers for inspiration in tough times!

  44. lee says:

    Yes what a blesing to read all of the shared testimonies. May God bless all of you.

  45. John Motley says:

    Erin,
    It was such a pleasure to read your story! You are a true American Hero and should be very proud of yourself. I hope that other young people will be inspired by your story to sign up as Marrow Donors themselves. I’ve been on the registry list for almost 20 years and have never been called, so I was fascinated to read your story. I donated platelets in Hawaii in the early 1990′s for a fellow military officer who developed leukemia, but unfortunately, he lost his battle with this terrible disease. Thank you for sharing your story and may God’s blessings be upon you and your family for such a selfless act.

  46. Carol Rodgers says:

    Erin,
    Thanks for being so honest about your experience and not sugar-coating it. Donating blood products can be hard under the best of circumstances let alone 2 days worth. Thanks again for your courage.

  47. Stephen says:

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! Thanks Erin for sharing such a Beautiful and Wonderful story. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I said almost because I was trying my best not to cry. You know how us dumb men think were macho if we don’t cry. hehe Anyway I truly wish You, your father and the young 14 year old boy the very best. I am glad I sign up for this. Thank You So Much!

  48. Christine says:

    Erin,
    WOW, you really inspire me. You just made my day!

  49. Jay says:

    Erin,
    Awesome job! My daughter, Bailey, was diagnosed at age 2 with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Initially, the doctors classified her as “high risk” and had started the search for a marrow donor. By the grace of God, her stem cells rebounded after her 1st month of chemo. My wife and I vowed to sign up as donors and we have been patiently waiting to become a match. I would do it in a heartbeat because I know 1st hand what the patients and families go through. Hope go a long way when everything seems to be going bad. You gave that boy and his family a chance. At times like that, sometimes that’s all it takes to turn the corner and regain hope. You are a Godsend. Thank you.

  50. Jennifer Carter says:

    Hi Erin,
    You are awesome, and very brave. I have been on the register for several years but haven’t gotten the call. Your story will help alot of us know what to expect. You Rock!
    Warmest regards,
    Jennifer

  51. pamela says:

    Erin, I am registered, I know what it means to look for solutions to a health problem. I hope that one day i will be n answer to somebody prayer and that God will give me the courage to go through like you did. You have
    a heart of gold.

  52. Erin,
    You have a fabulous outlook on life and why we are here; to help each other. I personaly thank you. I have been on the bone marrow donor registry for many years. There was a young mother in my area that needed help and I was tested. Although I was not a match, I continue to be available to someone in need.
    My own son, Michael, Mikey, Friedman was diagonosed with DSRCT in 2004. After 4 1/2 years of treatment, including an analogous bone marrow transplant, (his own stem cells)he sucuumbed to his cancer. We miss him deeply everyday. He was the founder of the Mikey’s Way Foundation, at the age of 15, after 9 months in remission. To find out more please visit http://www.mikeysway.org
    Erin, thank you again for your bravery and committment to help others.
    Barbara Landau, Mikey’s mom

  53. Tracy says:

    Erin – What a wonderful gift God has given you! I hope your story of His faith, love and grace will inspire others to register and hopefully some day save a life.

  54. Janet says:

    Erin, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us about PCSC donation. Our daughter, Heather is alive today because a wonderful man in California went through similar experiences just to help a stranger up in Wisconsin. I have always been so thankful for him and pray for HIS family and health, but after reading your account, I am in AWE of all the donors who have readily said “YES!” when asked to proceed with their donation pledge. Her transplant was almost 3 years ago, now, and Heather is completely healthy; she and her husband just celebrated her 30th birthday last week with their friends… for literally days! :-)

    Heather was able to write her donor, and he graciously wrote her back; she was thrilled to be able to thank him personally and let him know what a difference he made in her life. Thank you again for allowing us to really understand what this procedure entails, and the commitment involved that donors are more than willing to endure!

  55. Tana says:

    I, too, donated stem cells about 8 years ago and feel it is the greatest gift I have ever given. My recipient is now 14 years old and doing very well. I am so glad I was able to do this. Unfortunately, I am now 60 years old and they will not allow me to do it again due to my age (which I do NOT agreee with). God bless you!

  56. Erin – I too was moved by Rod Carew’s plea – I also joined the registry and was a match for someone. It is an amazing experience and bless you for doing it!!
    I’m glad your recipient is doing well and had that “Liquid Gold” from you!!

    xoxo
    Rhonda in Delaware

  57. Deborah says:

    Erin, thank you so much for sharing your story. I put my name on the registry two years ago, although I wasn’t exactly sure of what the process would be, I knew that if I were a match I would donate. Thanks so much for taking time to explain the process. Because of you, I will be sending this e-mail to friends and family and asking them to consider registering.

  58. Ruth says:

    Erin, Thank you for sharing. I signed up back in 07 and 2 years ago, I got “the call” that I was a potential match. I went and gave many tubes of blood and began the wait. Once I began to think about it, I really got scared. I read alot about the proceedure and prayed for the child(I was told it was an 8 year old) Shortly after I was notified that the child was no longer healthy enough for the procedure. At that point I felt a connection with this child and was very saddened by this news. I am now more prepared for what will hopefully be the bext time. God bless you!

  59. Eric Ortiz says:

    Erin, I envy your courage and hope that one day everyone can take action like you have.

  60. Eileen says:

    I have great admiration not only for Erin, but also for the Be The Match team who was not afraid to post an essay by a donor who had a less-than-perfect experience. I have been very impressed by the honesty and ethics of the bone marrow registry.

    I’ve never been called. And I won’t say I hope I will be, as that would mean someone coping with an awful illness so I can feel like a hero. But I’m ready if it happens.

  61. Matt Peters says:

    Thats an awesome story. It gives a person a sense of worth to be able to do something so big. I can only hope and pray that I can have a story like this one some day. It would be very fulfilling to be a match.

  62. John says:

    Erin,
    It is stories like yours that convinced me to join the registry many years ago. God bless you for your courage. As many others have said, you are an angel my dear!

  63. Calvin says:

    Erin,
    As I read your story I was filled with joy to hear of your donation, I too was the answer to someones prayer two years ago and still remember looking at the donation bag with tears in my eyes. Blessings to you!!

  64. Erin,
    You are truly an inspiration and a a blessing. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  65. darrell says:

    ERIN

    You have given a part of you to save a life of another, that is a priceless gift. I too donated in May of 2010 and in June I made another donation to the same receipient for a t cell booster. I pray that he is doing well. Its such a blessing from god that we are able to give those in need help. God bless you and good luck with all you do

  66. Kevin Sullivan says:

    I’ve been on the list for years, after reading your story I know I can answer the call if it comes. Thanks for your donation of life and sharing your courage with everyone. You are making a difference!

  67. Jim R says:

    Erin, Inspiring story! I am encouraged to hear ,not only of your experience, but also of the willingness of others to do the same. We hear and see so much selfishness,it is refreshing to see that there are still many who stand ready to help.
    I am a bit envious. I have been on the registry for about 15 years and have never gotten the call. I think I can speak for many here When I say “Bring it, We’re ready!”

    • Erin says:

      I couldn’t agree more. These stories of selfless acts are refreshing and continue to inspire in the same way I hope to inspire others. Be patient. God will use you in a special way, not necessarily donating cells!

  68. Savannah says:

    Erin, you are SO brave! When I met a good friend of mine way back in high school, I learned that her mother had marrow cancer, and just like you I vowed to become a member once I became of age. I hear marrow donation is one of the most painful procedures one can endure, but yours sounded agonizing as well! So fantastic to hear he is doing better, and very inspiring to hear your story!

  69. Jamie says:

    Aloha Erin,
    What an inspiring example of courage and tenacity! You are truly an angel on Earth! I’ll keep your story in mind and try to be as brave when I get the call.:)

  70. Pam says:

    Thank you Erin, for sharing your story. I really do believe that people who are willing to be donors have been led to this by God. Your willingness to do this for someone, especially at such a very young age, proves that your spirituality and faith in Christ is the real thing and not just talk. If I am blessed enough to be called, I hope and pray that I can go through the experience with the grace, generosity of soul and fearlessness that you have.
    God blesses you and everyone you touch and know.

  71. Robin says:

    If prayer worked, you wouldn’t have had to go through this. Thank you to the medical researchers who made this possible.

    • Erin says:

      God works miracles in many different ways and gives humans the tools and capacity to develop techniques such as these. I’m in the medical field and get to witness situations every single day where medicine and science simply cannot explain certain outcomes, good or bad. Trust me, prayer does work…even if what we are praying for is not always the answer we receive.

  72. Julie says:

    I know it’s going to hurt, but I can’t imagine that I could let someone die to save me that pain! Erin, you are an awesome child of God!

  73. Tracey says:

    Erin,

    You are awesome!! Thanks for sharing your story. I am in the process of spreading information regarding joining the National Marrow Registry and will use your story to educate others. My son is almost 15 years old and received a bone marrow transplant 1 and 1/2 years ago. We were told that unless his sibling was a match, the chance of him finding an unrelated match was very slim because of his ethnicity. Thank God his brother WAS a match. There is definitely a need to grow the Registry! Your story will help!
    Thanks and you are a Heroine!!!

  74. Kim says:

    I have been on the donor list for over 20 years and I will have to go off soon because of my age….I always wanted to be a donor but no match ever came forward. Congratulations Erin for giving the gift of life to another person, you changed his life forever.

    God bless you

  75. Diana says:

    Erin, thank you for sharing your story. I am on the registry and can only wish that I joined it sooner. I kept putting it off because I didn’t know there was a cutoff age, and then when I finally decided to join, I had to wait until a year passed after some surgery. I am 53 now, so the chances are that I will “age out” before I am called. So, I’d like to encourage young people to sign up if they are interested. Also, I’d like to acknowledge that you made me cry and you made me laugh and you made me feel like a total wuss about feeling uneasy about going to donate platelets today! Donating platelets or whole blood is something that everybody on the registry can do to help others while waiting for “the call.” I wish you, your family, the recipient, and his loved ones all the best!

  76. Patricia says:

    Thanks Erin for your amazing commitment. I regisered as a bone marrow donor after my sister Jean was diagnosed with AML leukemia in January 2009. I was tested and was only a half match. Emory University hospital had located a donor for my sister but she was never able to get in remission. She lost her battle after 10 months of her diagnosis. I believe if she had been diagnosed earlier she could have had a better qualilty of life. She was an amazing woman and never complained about her disease. It is “angels” like you who are willing to make a sacrifice to save others that inspire me. Thanks!

  77. Charlotte says:

    Erin, thank you for a wonderful story and sharing your experience. I, too, and a PBSC donor (done August, 2009). The procedure you described was much like the one I had, only my vein didn’t blow. I’ve always been told by the Red Cross (where I’ve given over 10 gallons of O Negative blood) that my veins are great! The hardest part of the procedure for me was the second day when I had to be at the hospital early. One thing I did that I should have thought about was take my lisinopril/hctz (the hctz is a diuretic) and by the time the PBSC collection was done, I was about to burst from needing to go the bathroom. I’m glad I had the oportunity to do this but don’t know if my recipient lived (I haven’t heard from anything, so I have a feeling that he may have passed on). But, if I were to get the call again, I would gladly go.

  78. Gayle says:

    Erin, you are very brave and were given the opportunity to save someone’s life. My husband had a bone marrow transplant 13 years ago from an unrelated donor who was a perfect match. We were able to meet the donor and her family and will be forever grateful for the gift of my husband having his life. Thank you for your gift.

  79. Alex says:

    Wow, so fantastic to hear an honest first-hand account! Your description of how it was uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but totally worth it in the end is truly inspiring.

  80. Karen VanBuren says:

    Erin,
    Congratulations and thank you for being a donor. Yesterday I (we) celebrated our 18th anniversary of my Bone Marrow donation. Yes, 18 years ago on July 15th I donated my marrow to a 12 year old boy in Austria who had had both ALL and AML. Today he is 30, healthy and he, his family and I remain very close. He calls himself “mein Blut Sohn” or “my blood son” because his mother says he is as much my son as hers. She gave birth to him the first time and I the second. I thank God every day for having had the chance to be a living donor. Can we ask any more in this life than to have that kind of direct affect on another human being? Again, thank you.

  81. Zarina says:

    God bless you Erin. You are one lucky girl! What can be a better way than to be so useful for somebody’s life. Thank You.

  82. Susan says:

    I was so touched by your story and the way you presented it. You didn’t sugar coat the experience, yet the clearly through your words, we know the pain and discomfort was worth the reward. God bless you.

  83. Shelly says:

    Erin,
    LOVED your honest story, and the responses it has generated. I too have been on the registry over 20 yrs and have not received a call. I hope to be a match still. I thank you for your willingness to go through with the donation process and your story. I truly believe it has calmed many persons concerns over the process, and has encouraged others to share bits and pieces of their experiences when they have gone through donation. It has encouraged prayer and hope for so many, as well as others to join the registry. Blessings to you and those on both ends of the donation process!

  84. Owen Wells says:

    Dear Erin-
    I am so proud of you for actually becoming a stem cell donor giving a 14 year old boy another chance at life! My daughter, Kailee Wells, is now also 14 and our family is so very happy to be able to say, living a normal life thanks to NMDP, the China Marrow Donor Program and her donor, Wang Lin who, like you, donated PBSC for Kailee, when she was 8. Kailee was diagnosed with bone marrow failure when she was 5 and our family started organizing bone marrow donor drives in the hopes of Saving Kailee or someone like her. In the process, we met many donors and they all said they would donate again because it was a chance to save another human being! We are extremely proud of NMDP, now Be The Match and the China Marrow Donor Program who have continued to add over 1,200,000 people to the Chinese registry and have been able to complete over 800 BMTs! Now, NMDP and the CMDP work together. When we were searching for Kailee’s donor, the coordination had not yet been set up. Thank you from the bottom of our heart to you, Erin and to all the other people who helped save Kailee. Sincerely, Owen Wells, Dad of Kailee

  85. Kelly says:

    Erin,

    Thank you for your story. I am writing because I am a recipient of stem cell donation. In December 2010, I was a 47 year old wife, mother of 2 daughters and just recently a grandmother of a beautiful grandson. I was diagnosed first with a stroke and in 24 hours was also diagnosed with having AML Leukemia. No symptoms prior! What a shock it was to me and my family. My doctors worked very aggressively on my cancer treatment, all along the way telling me that I would probably benefit the most in having a stemcell transplant. Immediately many friends, co-workers, church family and my sibblings began the process to be tested to see if they were a match for me. I believe because of faith, many prayers and God’s hand is the reason that one of my sisters were a perfect 6 of 6 match for me! On March 15th at University of Iowa Hospital I received that “golden” bag of my sister’s stem cells. I am now 120+ days post transplant and I am doing well! Erin you described the harvesting of the cells beautifully. My sister did well and I am so blessed she was willing to be tested and also willing to go through with the process for me to have another chance at life. I thank God every day for her, her cells, my doctors, my prayer warriors and just for another day to share my story with others. I am still learning my new body and with the stroke still struggle with the effects but am so thrilled to be alive. I have since my transplant lived to celebrate another birthday, another mother’s day, and was able to see my youngest daughter graduate from high school, and on Monday July 18th will get to see my grandson become 9 months old!!! Thank you Erin for your story again! My husband joined the donor match program also and hopes to one day return the the gift I received to someone else.

  86. Anna Pegg says:

    What an inspiring story. I have been a member for almost 10 years now and have not received a call yet. I pray that I am the answer to someone’s prayer one day :)

  87. Mary says:

    Erin,

    What an Angel you are! I too have been on the National Donor list since December 2009. I joined the registry when a dear friend of mine’s son needed a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, they never found a match and he died that following August at the young age of 18.

    But God does have a plan. Last July, my oldest brother was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia (ALL). He underwent Chemo and needed a bone marrow transplant. I went with him to MD Anderson to meet with Stem Cell doctors. Coming from a large family (I have 9 siblings), the doctors felt they would find a match. I told them I was already on the National List (but at the time only gave cheek swabs) so they asked me to give blood samples. They also sent home kits for my other siblings to be tested. After a few weeks, my brother called to tell me I was his “perfect” 14 point match!

    I also did the same PBSC donation and it was so much easier than I thought it would be. So worth the little discomfort I felt. I too donated the week before Thanksgiving but had to travel to MD Anderson to do so. My husband did great caring for our 3 sons and 2 of my sisters came to help me. The translant took place on December 1st.

    The best news just game this week as my brother went back to MD Anderson for a check up and they gave him a clean bill of health and are starting to wean him of his anti-reject meds 1 1/2 years earlier than the shortest time frame and 4 1/2 years earlier than the longest time frame he could have been on :) . His doctor back home doesn’t have an explantion for why this is happening so fast, as he has never seen it before, other than I must have given him some good bone marrow! I think the 14 point perfect match helped!!

    So, for all of you out there on the list waiting for your call….hang in there, it might not be from the Registry…it might come right from your home!

  88. Peggy says:

    Wow, I read this in the newsletter on 7/16/11, and got a call from the Spokane registry that same afternoon, saying I was a possible match to a patient! I have been on the registry since the fall of 2009. My daughter registered this summer when the one year old daughter of a very close friend was diagnosed with acute lymphocitic leukemia and has been going thru chemo the last 30 days of her tiny life, and her parents have been told she is facing 2 1/2 years of treatment. If I am the match to donate to this patient, I will have little Lily as my inspiration and strength! Thanks for sharing!

  89. Eric says:

    Erin,

    As many have said before me… This is quite an inspiring story. Thank you for enduring the pain for that 14- year old child. I have been on the donor list for about twenty years. In November of 1990, my best friend was called back to heaven after fighting an awesome fight with leukemia. He was diagnosed at the age of four and passed away exactly a week before his eighteenth birthday. Ironically, your procedure started on his birthday, November 24. So I have to say thank you for your generosity and giving spirit.

    I have been called for a possible match on one occasion and net through the second step of the process, however, I was not close enough. I would be proud to do the same if ever I were called.

  90. wendy wallach says:

    I have been on the donor list for many years and have neevr been called but always wondered what the procedure was like. I hate needles and blood and doctors and hospitals so much but I think faced with the prospect of saving a life I would overcome my fears. I am Jewish and we have a saying that ” He who saves one life saves the world entire” ( Don’t quote me but it is pretty close)….I think that applies to what you did!

    Thank you for being brave!

    Wendy

  91. Sheri C. says:

    Erin, what a wonderful story. I, too, signed up to be a donor several years ago. It is unfortuante that I have not yet been a match for someone but your story reminded me to never give up hope! Although it has been over 8 years, I remain hopeful that one day I, too, will be called upon and that I, too — like you — will be brave and help someone in need. You are amazing and I am thankful to have recieved this newsletter and had the ability to read your story. May God bless you and keep you safe all the days ahead. And may your story inspire others to be a donor!

  92. Marilyn says:

    Erin, thank you for your willingness to give those life-giving stem cells to the young teenager so that he could have longer life. I learned so much from your description of the process. It has inspired me to pray for the donor who will give stem cells the end of this month to a dear friend of mine, not just praying for my friend. I am also on the donor registry and now take this responsibility with more commitment because of having read your blog today! Thank you.

  93. Linda Hall says:

    Erin, I am so proud of you. I can see why it was so easy for Jackie to love you as a best friend. You are the best. I am an aphesis (sp?) donor for double reds. I have to sign up quick as I am approaching the age deadline.
    Momma Hall

  94. Aunt Barbara says:

    Erin, I so remember when you turned 15 and your wish was to donate blood. God created you to be a vessel that could save a life and what a blessing you have been. I am so proud of you for all you; yourself had to endure to help your recipient. You will be blessed with all the good that you do for others especially since embarking upon your career as Dr. Wright. God bless you sweet niece – Your cup will never overflow because God’s plan is so great for you.

  95. Ynette says:

    Erin, your recount has truly blessed me. Our God is so awesome. I am thrilled that you are part of His army. May He bless you abundantly with His life, love, peace and joy all the years of your life. I believe that your donation has added to more than one patient’s life, encouraging others like myself to be strong and answer the call when it comes -despite our fears. Thank you!

  96. Chenell says:

    Erin,

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. God bless you, you truly were an answer to prayer!

    I have been on the registry for just over a year and hope that some day I can help save someone’s life as well. I just turned 29 so I still have many years ahead of me before I age out of the system.

    I am trying to organize a donor drive at my church since we have a very large and diverse congregation. I hope that if I cannot donate that I can lead others to Be The Match for someone.

  97. Erin says:

    Words simply cannot express what I feel as I read each of the responses. Every single response has touched my heart and spirit in more ways than you could ever imagine. Even though I sincerely wish that I could reply to them all, please be assured that I have read them! May God continue to bless you in your daily lives and may you be the “answer to somebody’s prayer.”

  98. Tina says:

    Truly a blessing, you story brought tears to my eyes. It brought to mind how Christ shed his blood to save us all and how much life is in the blood. I know that you are fulfulling God’s purpose for your life. May you continue to follow your spirit wherever it leads you.

  99. Sandi (Sam Gibbons) Tapp says:

    I was a match for my brother David in 1984. I donated my bonemarrow twice to him. David had ALL, Acute Lymphlastic Leukemia, an extra chromazone(Not sure on spellings) Graft vs. Host set in after he was exposed to chicken pox and we lost him. He was 15 and I was 12. We were at the University of Minnesota. My brother David was very greatful and he made me feel remarkable being able to do something like that for my brother. My family was very lucky to the fact that David’s 2 brothers & his only sister matched him. They took mine because females bonemarrow fights harder! Since this took place at the U of M, I was able to call them on my 18th Birthday and they assisted me and the National Bonemarrow Donor list with all my info and I have been on it for 22 yrs. I do pray one day I will be called on to give someone the gift of life! This is an honor & you feel like you have given the world to someone! I am blessed & I pray that anybody that is on this incrediable list gets the chance to give someone life! Thank you for caring so much and following our story

    Blessings,

    Sandi (Sam Gibbons) Tapp

  100. Howard Bish says:

    Erin, your sharing encouraged me today. May God continue to bless and use you to His glory.

  101. Melissa Horton says:

    Erin, I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your story. My eyes are literally streaming with tears…..tears of joy for what a blessing you are and have been for that young man. And THANK YOU for giving God all the glory here! I hope that I too will be able to do something to help save another’s life someday. Love, Melissa

  102. John allison says:

    After almost 12 years on the list. I have been called to duty. I begin the injections on saturday 23 July 2011. Those on the list for a long time take heart. I had almost forgotten i signed up when they called me. Remember we work on the good Lord’s timetable not our own. ” to do for another, without thought of a quid pro quo, expecting nothing in return is its own reward”

    John A

  103. Kathy says:

    Dear Erin,
    I was delighted to read your post for a couple of reasons. One was that I have been on the “Be a Match” list for a long time and still hope and wait for a call. Your post gave my hopes a little boost that perhaps it will still happen before I am too old. Secondly, I was delighted to read of your references to praying and God’s will. I am a Christian and it is always refreshing to have someone give God the credit for working in our lives. It is such a blessing and comfort to know that He will work what is best in our lives, even though at times we think other things would be best. I continue to hope and pray that He will use me to be a blessing to someone in this same way, but His will, not mine. Thank you for sharing your story and for being willing to suffer somewhat for someone else’s good. Hope you and your recipient are still doing well. God bless you.

  104. Edward Blancarte says:

    Dear Erin,
    You did the right thing even though you were scared. That alone shows you what you have inside of you. Being brave is overcoming a fear, and you proved how brave you are by going through with the donation even knowing the pain and discomfort you would experience. It sounds like you have a strong faith in the Lord. God never gives us anything he knows we can’t handle. Good for you you Erin for doing the right thing.

  105. Ama says:

    I cannot express how I felt reading your story and your comments. Indeed, prayers are answered every day. I can testify to that. My Grandson was on life support for 30 days and the doctors all said that he was dead. But I believed in prayer and there were prayer chains praying for him all over the world. Guess what? There was divine intervention. My grandson is here today and doctors are calling it a miracle. Even the doctors that are not Christians could not believe that he survived. So I know that GOD ANSWERS PRAYS. I have experienced it. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!! You are a good an faithful servant in God’s eyes and you will be greatly rewarded. Well done to your parents for raising such a human being. I am sure that they are very proud of you. They should be. Well done parents; you instilled in him that he should love his neighbor as himself. Erin, thanks again for sharing your experience and my God continue to bless you and your family.

  106. Lucretia says:

    I too have been on the registry for quite some time, it does take strength as well as prayers to get through the process of donation. Thank you Erin for sharing your story. I await my time to able to help someone in need.

  107. Maria Rodriguez says:

    Thank you for your story of honesty and courage. You allowed to understand that feelings of fear are normal and that we can overcome them with faith and prayer. I have to ask- did you attend U.C.S.B? You look like my friend- but I’m not sure. If it is you please respond.

  108. Erin says:

    Sorry, I did not go to UCSB. Thanks for the message though!

  109. Kim says:

    Erin, thank you for your unselfish act. I am also registered to be a donor & have been for many years, although I have not gotten the “call”. Good karma will come back your way for the good you have done.

  110. Tom says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I will remember it and try to be as strong as you if I am ever called.

  111. Darryl says:

    Erin,

    Thanks for your story it is truly inspiring. My wife was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome last year and within 30 days developed Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. She was given 6 months to live. Fortunately her brother was a complete DNA match and agreed to donate his stem cells. This is an amazing process and an amazing gift. My brother-in-law has saved his sisters life. Thanks for detailing the process which can be very difficult. He took the neupogin shots inspite of being a diabetic himself, so I know this was hard on him. He is truly an angel to save his sisters life. You have done the same for that little boy. May God Bless you!!!

  112. Erin says:

    WOW! I am truly overwhelmed by ALL of the responses. I feel so blessed not only to be able to share my story, but to read the stories of others who have shared a similar experience, either from the donor or recipient side. We are all in this together. Let’s keep up the awesome work and continue to spread the word! May God continue to bless each of you in your daily lives.

  113. Mark Harvison says:

    Hi Erin

    I joined because of Rod Carew’s daughter as well. I was reduced to tears when I saw the footage of her on tv all those years ago. I joined the program right after that and have donated platelets since then. If I am ever called to donate marrow or stem cells, I would gladly do it and only hope I will have the strength that you did.

    Take care,

    Mark

  114. Elaine says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of donating marrow. My daughter’s boyfriend, Andy, received a transplant a year ago last week and praise the Lord, he is continuing to strengthen and gain weight and fight lymphoma. Reading your experience has given me the complete picture including the donor’s perspective. After watching what Andy has gone through and the chance he has been given because of the donated golden cells, I became a donor last January. I regularly give blood and deem it an honor and privilege to help someone live. Praise the Lord, Andy plans to leave Wed to attend college in another state where my daughter attends. God is good and we pray for Andy’s continued healing! Your story confirms all the more in me that I glade will donate to help another just as you did and someone has done for Andy. Thank you, Erin!

  115. Danny says:

    Thank God for all the people who care enough about others to consider going through this procedure. I agree. It would be an honor to help save someone’s life. Truly God is looking down on us and smiling.

  116. Greg says:

    My dearest friend Lea passed away from leukemia and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Erin you obviously have a great set of parents to support your decisions to donate your Marrow. Congratulations on your donation, its great to see that you not only helped to save a life but are an inspiration for others to donate as well. I have been a Professional Firefighter for 21 years and know a hero when I see one. You my friend are my Hero . God Bless you and your family.

  117. Steven K. Embree says:

    Erin, thank you for your gift. My older brother and my younger brother both died from leukemia. I was deemed a perfect match for my younger brother, but was later told to stay home as he was referred to Hospice. I hope someday I may be called as a match for someone. Again, thank you for your gift of life. Also, thank you for sharing your wonderful Christian testimony.

  118. Colmcille says:

    How good it is to give! I’m just past 61 yrs of age, so won’t be considered probably. I was more than happy to be available, though. Happy Christmas, Erin!

  119. Jacquelyn Williams says:

    Erin I joined the program almost ten years ago. A guy I worked woth daughter need a bone marrow transplant I signed up but was not a match. Hopfully I will be able to do the same as you. I give blood faithfully. What beautiful story. Have a Blessed Christmas & New Year

  120. Lisa Warren says:

    I joined the National Marrow Donor Registry in 1996. My father died of leukemia, and although I could not do anything to save him, I am still hopeful that one day I will be able to share a piece of myself in order to give someone else life.

  121. Cookie says:

    Hi Erin. I just read your incredible story and I wanted to thank you for what you did and for the in-depth story about donations. I joined the registry in April 2009, after a co-worker’s plea to help a friend of his with leukemia. She had a very touching blog and I kept up with her through her blogs over well over a year. I felt like she was a friend of mine. She was such an inspiration and the things she went through, were just heart-wrenching, but it opened my eyes to the disease and what it does. She didn’t win her fight with it, but she fought a tough race. I think of her often and although the things you went through were not fun so say the least, but I take my hat off to you and thank you for saving a life. May God continue to Bless You!

  122. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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