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?”
When Alec, a 20 year old stem cell donor from Boston, MA found out he was a match for a patient needing a transplant, he described it as, “A moment I will savor for the rest of my life.” He explained, “I remember feeling overwhelmed with a sense of purpose. Just knowing that my life was so valuable to someone else was almost incomprehensible.”
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.
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.
21 year old Alex knows how quickly life can change. In September 2011, his father’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 54. In a unique twist of fate, Alex found himself donating to save the life of a man almost the same age as his father, one week before the one year anniversary of his father’s death.
When 21 year old Jared was encouraged by his parents to register as a bone marrow donor in July of 2011 while at Camp Young Judaea , he didn’t think he would be called so quickly. Just one short year after joining the registry, Jared found himself donating peripheral blood stem cells to a patient diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“Act as if everything depends on you, Pray as if everything depends on G-d.” This quote summarizes my belief in Judaism, a higher power, and self-efficacy. I grew up donating blood every 2 months with my Dad, so it was a natural fit for me to agree to a cheek swab at a Gift of Life Donor registry at Temple Kol Ami Emmanuel in Plantation, Florida in 2002.
Tara volunteered as a potential donor when she was helping a friend run a recruitment drive for Swab-a-Cheek Save-a-Life, an organization working under the umbrella of Gift of Life whose mission is to increase participation of people from ethnic and racial minorities such as African, Asian, and Native Americans as volunteer donors. These groups are currently underrepresented in the worldwide donor registry.
Jonathan describes the night in 2010 when he decided to swab his cheek and join Gift of Life’s registry as an “everyone was doing it” moment. The drive was held at a charity event Jonathan had helped organize in New York City. Jonathan got the call that he was a potential match for a patient needing a transplant, and it was a call that changed his life.
When 21 year old Casey donated bone marrow to a 57 year old woman with chronic leukemia, Gift of Life's Donor Services Director described her as a spirited young woman who showered every nurse, doctor and coordinator with hugs and expressions of gratitude. Selfless and inspiring are two adjectives that describe this heroic young lady.
This stranger could be anywhere in the world. This stranger could be a baker, an NBA player, or the next president of the United States. I could have passed this stranger on the street or could have asked this stranger for directions to the coffee shop last weekend. There are, however, some things that I do know for sure: I share with this stranger HLA tissue type, proteins in the blood, allergies, immune system, and an everlasting friendship.
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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