“If I knew it was that easy, I would donate every week if I could” – Darrell’s Donation Story

Posted November 1st, 2013 by admin and filed in Donor Stories

Darrell donorFour years after joining the Be The Match Registry®, Darrell received a call from Be The Match® with the exciting news that he was a potential match for a patient.

Support from family and friends

Knowing little about the donation process, Darrell turned to his family and friends for support. They were thrilled to hear he was a potential match, but at the same time, were shocked that he and other marrow donors could be so giving to complete strangers.

After speaking with representatives from Be The Match and learning more about the two types of donation, bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), Darrell’s supporters encouraged him to move forward with additional testing. Test results came back stating that Darrell was, indeed, a perfect match for his recipient, and he soon found out he would be donating to an elderly male with lymphoma.

The first donation – PBSC

Darrell’s first donation was in 2007, when he donated PBSC. Before his donation, Darrell had only seen medical procedures on TV, or had heard about them in his work as a pharmacist, so he was understandably a bit nervous. “It was intimidating to think that I was donating to someone and I had no idea who they were” said Darrell, “but I would hope that if I were ever in that situation that someone else would do that for me.”

For five days leading up to the PBSC donation, Darrell received injections of a drug called filgrastim. This is given prior to every PBSC donation in order to increase the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream. As a result of the filgrastim injections, he experienced moderate bone pain and headaches, but claims that it was nothing compared to what his recipient was going through.

After donation, Darrell explained that “it was less painful than I thought it would be” and his recovery went smoothly.

The second donation – Marrow

Five years after his first donation, Darrell was found to be a match again—this time, for a 16-year-old boy diagnosed with leukemia. For this donation, Darrell was asked to donate marrow, a surgical outpatient procedure where liquid marrow is extracted from the pelvic bone. Marrow donation was the first time Darrell had ever experienced anesthesia. “I was educated step-by-step what the procedure would be like and any questions or concerns I had were quickly answered” said Darrell. This allowed him to go into the donation with confidence. Once his donation was complete, Darrell experienced slight tenderness in his back for two days and was then able to return to his everyday routine.

Although Darrell has never met either of his recipients, he recently received an update that both are doing well. “It was a very surreal experience” said Darrell. “Although I could be walking down the street next to one of my recipients and not even know, I am glad I joined the registry. It was a very positive experience.”

Darrell’s Advice to Others

Looking back on both donation experiences, Darrell is overjoyed. He shares his story proudly and encourages others to learn more about joining Be The Match Registry. “The more people you can let know about this cause, the better” said Darrell. “If I knew it was going to be that easy, I would donate every week if I could!”

26 Responses to ““If I knew it was that easy, I would donate every week if I could” – Darrell’s Donation Story”

  1. Zachary McKay says:

    Right on Darrell, I’m just waiting for the chance to be able
    to help someone.
    Zach

  2. James says:

    Darrell,

    You are truly a hero. Good for you.

    James

  3. Kris says:

    Way to go Darrell!

  4. Suzy says:

    What a great article! Darrell, you’re an inspiration to so many people for your bravery and selflessness throughout both donations. A glimmer of hope in society :) I hope to someday be able to give the same gift should I be a match for someone.

  5. barathk says:

    God Bless you Darrell. feeling proud of you.

  6. Nichole says:

    Darrell, you’re truly a hero! My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 6. Thankfully she’s in remission and didn’t need a bone marrow transplant. However, I’ve seen so many other children who do. I hope one day to have the same oppotunity that you did to help someone else.

  7. Jeannie says:

    Great story! Good to see real heros still out there!

  8. Karen says:

    Darrell, you are truely blessed to have been able to help not just 1 but 2 others. You were their last hope. Thank you for your selfless act.

  9. Pita Mann says:

    So exciting to read about your experience!
    I’ve been on the registry for at least 25 years and have never been matched.
    I just had my 60th birthday, so, unfortunately, my usefulness as a donor is moot, but I definitely would have answered the call if I’d received one.

    • Donna Kissell says:

      Good for you, Darrell. Pita, my husband & I have been on the registry for the same amount of time and we too have never been called. My husband is now over 60 and I have one more year to go. Maybe this will be the year! It’s always in the back of my mind that maybe I’ll get, “the call”!

    • Avon says:

      I too am a “sexuagenarian” whose chances of being called to donate diminish every year – and this is almost my 30th year on the Registry. But we know that recipients do best with transplants from a younger donor – and they’re the ones who really count.

      So, no regrets that I’m about to max out of the Registry; just applause for those who’ve so willingly donated.

      You can tell we oldsters really do get great joy and gratification from your stories – otherwise, why would we be hear reading ‘em, eh?!

  10. ANA says:

    You are an amazing person.

  11. Audrey says:

    Way to go Darrell. Thank you for what you did.such an important life changing experience. I donate blood and have rare antibodies that are suppose to help children with dinner form of cancer do out is rushed for testing s soon add i Doncaster in order to get to patients.the feeling is great knowing you’ve helped someone its such a life altering experience. Thanks to you

  12. Mary Ellen says:

    Wow, what a great feeling that must be to know you made all the difference to 2 people’s lives! I’m still waiting to match someone after many years on the registry and a few levels of match testing. I have friends who needed transplants, and know firsthand what a true gift it is!

  13. Beverly says:

    Thank you, Darrell, for making a difference.
    I have been on the registry for 7 years now, after my friend was diagnosed with cancerl. I hope I can be a match for someone in the next 3 years, because I just turned 57. In the meantime, I will keep on donating blood at local blood drives. That is something I can do.
    May God bless you for your kindness.

  14. Beverly says:

    Thank you, Darrell, for making a difference.
    I have been on the registry for 7 years now, after my friend was diagnosed with cancer. I hope I can be a match for someone in the next 3 years, because I just turned 57. In the meantime, I will keep on donating blood at local blood drives. That is something I can do.
    May God bless you for your kindness.

  15. Chris says:

    You are so blessed, and others have been blessed because of you. I have been on the registry for 15 years now and have never been a match. I joined the registry when one of my students was diagnosed with leukemia. Unfortunately, he passed away before a match was found. Since I have not been a match, I have worked to help others in the next best way that I can– by teaching my high school students about marrow donation and saving lives. When one of my students recently celebrated his 18th birthday, one of the first things he did was sign up with Be the Match. Maybe my students are really listening after all.

  16. Kathryn says:

    Bravo, Darrell. You are a hero! I am so disappointed in the fact that, at 59, I probably will never get my chance to donate. If/when I can ever retire, I hope to help by getting more people on the registry.
    Thank you for all you have done!

  17. Catherine says:

    I’m 20 and ready to donate! Just waiting to be matched :)

  18. Diane says:

    Many of us will never get the chance to save one life…..let alone two! I can only hope for that amazing call one day telling me I am a match. Congratulations Darrell for being blessed x 2 :)

  19. Melissa says:

    Wow! You must feel like a real live Superman, Because to those of us that have been on the list for so many years,that’s exactly what you are!! I keep hoping to be able to match someone before I run out of time.It truly is a blessing to help save someone’s life. CONGRTULATIONS!! :)

  20. Carlos Rodriguez-Botet says:

    Great job !!! I got the call that I was a match for someone in need a couple of weeks ago and now I’m waiting to see if they really need it. Can’t wait to be in your shoes and be able to finally donate too.

  21. Donna says:

    Wonderful of you to be so generous Darrell. My brother had leukemia and unfortunately died before I could try to help him. I have been in the registry for about 15 years now hoping to maybe help someone else, and like so many others my time will be running out too. Thank you to all the people
    out there who are in the registry for being so very kind and generous and willing to help people in need. Bless you all!

  22. Trish says:

    Thank you for your follow through Darrell it warms my heart that young males are so giving. Thank you to all the caring compassionate peeps on the website.

  23. Les says:

    About 20 years ago my wife, daughter, and myself entered the registry. None of us has been called to donate. We are ready if needed.

  24. tom says:

    Darrell good job! I’ll be ready man.

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