While having breakfast in the Lynn University cafeteria in 2021, Scott saw several other students with shirts he hadn’t seen before.
“My friend, a professor of ours, and I saw a bunch of students walking around with these tank tops that said ‘Best Cheeks on Campus’ and we wondered what they were for,” said Scott. “The shirts had ‘giftoflife.org’ on the bottom so we looked into it and realized it was to join the marrow registry. Our professor was more familiar with the organization and said that we should all get our cheeks swabbed. So, we went to where the women’s lacrosse team was holding a drive and we joined the registry!”
A year later, Scott received a phone call from Gift of Life notifying him that he had matched with a 59-year-old woman battling Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
“When I first received the call I was in class, so it went to voicemail,” said Scott. “I listened to the message and was a bit shocked that I got called back so soon, within a year. I called Gift of Life and they explained that I had matched with someone. I was definitely shocked. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how intense the process might be, but I was mostly excited.” There was more news, though, when Scott told his parents.
“It turns out that my grandmother was a bone marrow donor,” said Scott. “She gave for her brother, my great-uncle.”
Scott was invited to donate peripheral blood stem cells at the Adelson Collection Center in Boca Raton, Fla. Gift of Life coordinated a stay at a resort on the beach for him and a guest of his choosing, and a food and travel stipend was also provided.
“My mom and I hopped in the car and drove down from Northeastern Florida to Boca Raton so I could donate,” said Scott. “I’m glad she came with me. My parents were really excited that I was doing this. Before the collection began, they gave me a card saying how proud they were of me.”
Scott’s donation took about three hours, during which he was able to watch the Lord of the Rings on a TV that had Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming service subscriptions. Gift of Life also provides food, snacks, drinks, and other amenities to donors.
Scott feels a certain connection with his recipient having donated peripheral blood stem cells to her.
“I feel really honored to have helped someone, to have saved their life,” said Scott. “It brought me together with people I never would have met like the nurses and the other staff and I hope I get to meet my recipient. I think it would be cool to know someone and also be connected to them in such a close way.” Donors and recipients must remain anonymous for one year. After that period of anonymity expires, they may share contact information and, if both agree, meet face-to-face.
Scott urges others to join the registry. “If you can do it, then join the registry. Swabbing is super simple, the Gift of Life staff are so helpful, and, if you are called to donate, the process is very straightforward and easy.”
Scott, 22, recently graduated from Lynn University having received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. He is currently enjoying a well-deserved summer break in his home town of Deland, Fla. In his free time, Scott enjoys running, going to the gym, and reading science fiction.