22-Year-Old Aruni Donated PBSC Despite Concerns of Family and Friends

Posted December 5th, 2013 by admin and filed in Donor Stories

AruniMany people join Be The Match Registry® in hopes of becoming a match for a family member, friend, or someone in their community. When a member of her community was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, Aruni did just that. She joined the Be The Match Registry at a registration drive held on his behalf. In the end, Aruni was not a match and the patient that motivated her to join passed away. Through it all, Aruni stuck with her commitment to Be The Match and remained on the registry, hoping she could help someone else.

Members of Be The Match Registry join knowing that they may never be identified as a match for someone, or that they could be one of a number of potential matches. In some cases, members who join may be the only person on the registry who can save a particular patient’s life.

Three years after joining the registry, Aruni received news that she was a potential match. “I couldn’t believe that I was chosen as a possible match and that I was picked out of everyone on the registry,” said Aruni, “It was a really big surprise and I was really happy!” Thinking of her friend who passed away from leukemia, Aruni had no doubts about proceeding with additional testing. “I was a little nervous because I didn’t know if I was actually going to be the true match or not,” said Aruni.

Aruni was selected as the best match for her recipient and could not have been more thrilled. She immediately told her family and friends that she had matched, but their initial reactions to this exciting news were not as she expected. Aruni’s family was worried about her decision to donate because of the misleading information they received from others. They were hesitant about possible side effects Aruni would face, the time it would take away from her work, and her overall health. After hearing their concerns and knowing that she would need their support, Aruni was able to talk to her parents and make them feel more comfortable about her decision by educating them about the steps of donation.

Aruni donated peripheral blood stem cells (PSBC) to a 34-year-old woman fighting acute leukemia. After the donation, she was given an update about her recipient with the amazing news that the donation was successful. Recently, Aruni received an update that her recipient had returned to work and is doing well! Aruni is looking forward to finding out if she can be in contact with her recipient in the future. Until then, Aruni keeps her contact information up to date in hopes that she can be matched again and stays committed to Be The Match® by sharing her story with others.

Editor’s note:

Sharing your decision to donate marrow with family and friends is very important. If your loved ones have concerns or questions about the donation process please utilize the Donor Toolkit: Sharing your decision with family and friends. This toolkit is designed to help donors answer questions their spouse or partner, parents, children, and friends may have throughout their journey and create positive conversations about moving forward with donation. Be The Match wants you and your support network to be informed and comfortable with your decision to donate marrow.

16 Responses to “22-Year-Old Aruni Donated PBSC Despite Concerns of Family and Friends”

  1. Silpa Nekkalapudi says:

    Thats great to hear. I wish i would be of help to someone one day

    • Gina says:

      Don’t just wait! You will save a life for sure if you keep donating blood and platelets. :) This isn’t my personal website but check by your zip code if there is a place to donate near you. here is the link: americasblood.org

      Or call the Red Cross.

      I hope you save a lot of lives in your lifetime! Best wishes to you.

  2. Maria says:

    Glad she was a match and hope she can meet her recipient soon! I look forward I having a story like this one day, and if not it’s nice to know at least I’m trying by being on the registry!

  3. Padma says:

    Awesome Aruni!!!
    You are blessed to give a most precious gift. God bless you!!
    AS a member of the registry I still look forward for an opportunity.

    Best wishes
    Padmaja

  4. Sally says:

    An inspiring story that expresses the great selfless love Aruni shared with her recipient. Like Aruni, I was prompted to become a donor when there was a desperate plea from the family of a little girl who had leukemia. I don’t know if a match was ever found, but I find great comfort in knowing that I at least answered the call.

    Congratulations, Aruni, on your commitment and perseverance to help someone you don’t know. God bless and keep you, always!

  5. Mintu Khanuja says:

    Great work. We salute you for your kindness and brave decision to help someone and saving life. I am sure that you have made everyone around you proud of your work. Wish you all the success in this world. Thanks again.

  6. John M says:

    What a great story (and a beautiful photo, too). I hope to be a match someday, too.

  7. Sri Kaza says:

    What an invaluable gift! Congratulations on listening to yourself and doing what you believed when you registered as a potential donor! We organized multiple drives to save a near family member but failed due to lack of “good” match.

    Thank you

  8. Ron Rozier says:

    Thanks Aruni. You are a great American HERO.

  9. usha garg says:

    congratulations. We are proud of you, need young people like you.

  10. usha garg says:

    we need people like you. Great work

  11. Nancy Plass says:

    My son will be receiving a transplant next spring. Right now he is doing his chemo so he will be ready. I hope they can find someone quickly and is as nice as Aruni. I joined two years ago when they had a drive for someone I didn’t know. I was not a match, but I hope someday I can be.

  12. David Spenard says:

    What a wonderful story. I joined the registry just over 20 years ago after seeing a story like this on TV, late one night. I’ve never been a match but have been called in twice for further testing after matching most of the markers for determining a match. I hope one day to be able to help someone in need.

  13. Carol W says:

    Good for you, Aruni! I’ve been on the registry around 20 years and I know if I ever got the call I would be excited and want those around me to feel the same. I’m glad you were able to educate your family and get their support. And more important that you stayed with your commitment and helped save a life. That’s awesome!

  14. Jaya R says:

    It takes courage to follow through on an initial sentiment. Kudos also for being able to educate your family, friends and community – perhaps some of them will follow in your footsteps!

  15. Aruni Gunawardena says:

    Thank you all for your kind words! It has been the single most rewarding thing I have done thus far in my life. Today I received the information about my recipient, I hope to be in contact with her very soon!

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