Brad and his recipient have become like family after meeting
When Brad swabbed at a local bone marrow donor registration drive, he never thought he would get the call. Brad was still a freshman in college at the time and thought his chance of getting called as a match was “almost zero.”
Still quite young when he got the call, Brad said, “I needed to check with my mom because I was still a kid when the journey began.” Brad never wavered in his decision to go through with the donation, and credits this experience as being one of the most important in his life. “If you go through with donating bone marrow or stem cells, it may become the most gratifying experience you will ever have," Brad said. "You have the opportunity to save a life, but you also have the opportunity to then save the spirits of that person's family, friends and anyone else affected by them. When you are faced with that kind of upside potential, there should be almost no barrier strong enough to deter you.”
For Brad, the experience of becoming a donor has led to new friendships. His recipient wrote him a letter shortly after the transplant. “It was overwhelmingly touching. It was almost too much for me to handle. I didn’t feel like a hero, but the letter certainly made me sound like one," Brad said." When I first met the family, one of his daughters gave me a scrapbook of letters written by the patient, his family, and his friends.” He added, “I am a fairly reserved person, but that scrapbook was tough to get through without tearing up. We are now close family friends.”
The growing friendship with his recipient has expanded out to other family members. Brad explained, “I keep in touch with the whole family quite often. My recipient’s oldest daughter is getting married soon and she wants me to walk her halfway down the aisle, with her father walking her down the other half.”
Brad is a financial advisor and lives in Chicago, Illinois.