Donating to a patient in need is a Cohen family affair. Dan and Stacey are a brother and sister duo who registered to be potential bone marrow donors at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack in 2006. Dan’s donor experience was featured a couple of weeks ago. This is his sister Stacey’s story.

Stacey became a donor because she wanted the chance to save someone else’s life. She knew that the prospect of donating and helping someone was incredible, but she never thought she’d be called to donate. Her experience is certainly unique. She was present when Dan got his call, and it was believed that she would be called for the same patient because siblings have similar DNA. Though she wasn’t contacted then, she was called two years later.

When she received her call, Dan was, of course, encouraging. She was told the patient was an older gentleman in his 60’s. Her first thought was that this could be someone’s father, and once that idea was in her mind, she knew she had to help. She had watched Dan go through the process, and was impressed with his willingness to save a life and do anything that was asked of him. As she went through the process of confirmatory typing (the preliminary testing to determine if a donor is the best match), everyone she met was surprised to hear that she had a sibling who had donated. 

Though the process leading up to donation was a bit hard, it was worth it. In October 2010, Stacey went to Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan and donated blood stem cells (PBSC). The process was smooth, and many of the staff remembered her brother because the two had donated at the same hospital. To keep her company, she had some DVDs and her laptop, and she spent a majority of the time chatting with her friends over instant messenger. A few days and cupcakes later, she was back to herself again.

Stacey is currently a Graphic Designer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America after attending the Rhode Island School of Design. Her advice for those contemplating joining the registry is simple: Just keep it in perspective. If there was a stranger out there who could save the life of someone you love, wouldn’t you want them to? She says, “As unpleasant as preparation and donating might have been, it certainly was nothing compared to the arduous lifestyle my recipient must have been going through at the time.” She knows that it’s well worth any discomfort to save a life, and if she were called again, she’d absolutely donate.

 

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