Massachusetts man contacted to donate stem cells only one month after joining marrow registry
In October 2020, Noah was visiting an online Jewish Community Group on Facebook, MeetJew Social, and reading about Gift of Life and our mission to find matching donors for everyone battling blood cancer. He ordered a kit online, and when it arrived, simply swabbed at home and put the completed kit back in the mail.
“I couldn't think of a good reason not to do it,” said Noah. “I could do some good with hardly any inconvenience to me.”
When the tissue type was reported from the lab and listed in Gift of Life’s database, it simultaneously became available globally via the World Marrow Donor Association.
Noah’s tissue type was identified in a patient search almost immediately: a patient very close in age to himself urgently needed a donor to help cure an aggressive form of leukemia.
“I was in my apartment just after finishing up work when I got the call. I was shocked!,” said Noah. “I didn’t expect that I would ever be matched, let alone so quickly after swabbing – only a number of weeks. Thoughts were racing through my head, but my Donor Services Coordinator was extremely helpful and I was eager to donate.”
Noah shared the news with his girlfriend and parents, and got a great reaction from them. “My girlfriend is a nurse and told me not to be nervous about the Neupogen shots needed before donating, and my parents told me I’m very special, which is nothing new for them,” he said.
His brother was excited and took time to drive Noah from home in Cambridge, Mass. to the collection center in New Jersey.
I’ll look back on this the rest of my life as one of the times I felt truly connected to the world. It was one of the purely, unabashedly, good things I’ve been able to do in my life, and I appreciate the opportunity immensely.
“As a college student, I’m pretty sure he was in it for the free meals,” joked Noah. “My coworkers pitched in to move my workload around, and my parents sent me with more snacks than I could eat in a year. The hotel was conveniently next door to the collection center.”
During the collection process Noah listened to music as he watched the machine separating the cells needed for transplant from his blood. The remaining blood was returned to him via his other arm.
“Luckily I produced a lot of stem cells and was done earlier than expected,” said Noah. “All in all, one of my better vacations.”
Back home he was showered with praise by friends and family, but many of our donors say they don’t actually feel like heroes.
“I feel super lucky that that I was able to do this. I’ll look back on this the rest of my life as one of the times I felt truly connected to the world,” said Noah. “It was one of the purely, unabashedly, good things I’ve been able to do in my life, and I appreciate the opportunity immensely. Even if you are never matched, the simple act of registering is both a mitzvah and a remarkable gift.”
Noah is 25 years old, almost the same age as his recipient, and is a graduate of Worcester State University. He is an SEO expert and client manager at a digital services firm. In his free time he writes, reads, and donates stem cells.