Young mother donates marrow to woman battling leukemia
Jennifer walked through the door at her local gym in January 2013, and stopped at a booth where a Gift of Life volunteer was recruiting new donors. Since it only took two minutes, she decided to complete a cheek swab kit and join the registry.
While many people never get the opportunity to donate, Jennifer came up as a match three years later for a woman suffering from acute myelogenous leukemia. She got the call the day before her birthday and was told, “You may be a match for a patient in need.”
As Jennifer quickly learned what being a match entailed, she also found out that a friend’s son had received a lifesaving transplant, which helped her decide to proceed. “After my friend shared her story, it made my decision much easier,” said Jennifer. “During the conference call with Gift of Life I found out the process is not what most people think. It is like a blood donation.”
The day of her donation went smoothly, and Jennifer felt like she was being pampered. “I sat there joking with the nurses, watching movies and reading my magazines,” she said. “It felt like I was on vacation; what more could I ask for!” Although she was taking care of her one-year-old son, Jennifer lived close enough to the donation center that it was only a short drive.
She had amazing support and interest from her family and friends, some of whom decided to join the registry after reading about her experience on Facebook and learning that they could either order a swab kit or join at a local drive in their area.
“I would do it [donate] ten more times, it’s a great experience,” said Jennifer. “It’s not what people think it is. The fact that you can save a life through a simple blood donation is a no brainer!” She’s also thinking about her recipient. “I would love to hear her story and find out how she’s doing – hopefully well!”
Jennifer is a full-time homemaker. She and her husband Benjamin have a two-year-old son, and live in Virginia.