received the call. A 32-year-old woman desperately needed a bone marrow transplant, and I was a match.
At first, I wondered if my teammates were prank-calling me, just because it’s pretty rare to match with someone. But I quickly realized that it was legit, and I absolutely wanted to help.
The process was pretty simple. I had blood drawn to make sure I was a definite match. Then, I had some tests done and waited a bit while we figured out scheduling. I finally donated my marrow during my senior year of college, right after football season ended.
On the day of my surgery, everything went smoothly. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, because despite a long history of playing contact sports year-round, I never had an injury great enough to require surgery – and I’ve been playing contact sports since I was six! But with anesthesia, the actual procedure was painless.
It took about two weeks to recover. My back was a little stiff, and I was sore, but nothing too crazy. I’ve felt more pain after a really intense football game. It was more than worth it, knowing that I was helping save a life.
Ever since I donated, I’ve been telling people: to sign up for the Be The Match Registry.
There’s a critical need for bone marrow donors between the ages of 18 and 44, especially Black Americans. We can help each other.
If you join, and they call to say you’re a match, it’s natural to be nervous. But please don’t let it stop you. I promise that you can do it. You’ll be supported every step of the way. And you’ll be a hero to someone in your community who’s fighting for their life.
When I got the call, all I could think about was my mother, my aunt, and my younger sister. What if they needed help? I’d hope that someone would step up and help them, no questions asked.
Donating my bone marrow was life-changing – for me and, more importantly, for the woman who fought leukemia and got a second chance at life. As Coach Talley told me during my freshman year at Villanova, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
You could be someone’s cure, too. Visit BeTheMatch.org to join the registry today.
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