Towards the beginning of Julie’s freshman year at college, she came across a Gift of Life donor drive being held on campus and signed up immediately. She explained, “I come from a family where most everyone is an organ donor - I guess the decision was inherited.” While she hoped she would match a patient who needed a transplant, she didn’t think it was likely. Not only did she match, but it happened rather quickly. Julie got the call from Gift of Life just nine months later!
In May 2011, Bayla was mourning the loss of her aunt, who had died of breast cancer. It was then that she received a call from Gift of Life informing her that she was a match for someone else who was battling cancer. She immediately thought, “How could I not try and save this lady’s life? If my aunt could have been saved by a stem cell or bone marrow transplant and there was a match who didn’t want to donate, I would be devastated. So how could I do that to another family?”
This is exactly how I felt every night while walking my old black lab in the stunning moonlight. I'd let a few tears escape, look up at the stars, and plead for some kind of answer to what I am here in this life to do. There had to be more! I knew I desperately wanted to help people, to do Tikkun Olam every chance I got, but how? Where to begin?
Two years ago this November, Aalap was sitting at the Starbuck’s on Butler University’s campus doing homework. The pharmacy student decided to swab his cheek with other classmates and join Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation’s international registry. Like many who swab their cheeks, Aalap did not think that one day he would be called upon to save a life.
I signed up for the Gift of Life registry in June 2009 while in Tel Aviv on a Birthright Israel Trip. It was the final day of the trip and I happened to walk past a donor drive and signed up on the spot. I decided to volunteer as a potential donor in honor of a friend from college that passed away after his courageous battle against Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML.) I felt utterly helpless despite my desire to do something after his passing. But what could I do? When I saw the Gift of Life donor recruitment table, one option clearly presented itself.
In 2004, Eric lost his friend to breast cancer, and that loss spurred his need to do something to help others. So, he joined the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry. He attended a drive in Toronto in 2004 and signed up to become a volunteer donor.
When donor Scott Spicer returned to California after he donated his blood stem cells in October 2007, he knew that what he had just experienced in New York was something unique.
For 35-year-old Shaun, a teacher at Trinity-St. John Lutheran School in Nashville, Illinois, the decision to volunteer as a donor and register with Gift of Life was an easy one. In 2011, one of Shaun’s eighth grade students and her brother were both diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia. The family quickly organized the donor recruitment drive at the school to find donor matches. Shaun said, “We come from a small town and everyone helps each other out. When I heard there was a chance that I could possibly save their lives, I didn't hesitate to get swabbed.”
Over a decade ago, Marshal Davis, now 31, was a fencer and an aspiring lawyer attending the University of Florida. Two years ago he received a life-altering call from Gift of Life: he was a match for a 5 year old boy.
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