Max distinguished himself by donating bone marrow to save a life
When Max Kauert received the call from Gift of Life informing him he was a match for a transplant patient, he never questioned going through with the donation process. He said, “During the registration they advised that there is only a small chance of being a possible match, but I never thought I would be called.” For Max, who works for the Army Reserve and plays football, this was an incredible opportunity to help another human being. “I have had a lot of people help me in my life and, given the opportunity, I wanted to be able to do the same,” he said.
It all began during a football game at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, where more than 100 people got swabbed during a campus drive for Gift of Life. More than two years later, in October 2012, Max received the call that he was a potential match for a fifteen-year-old boy suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Coincidentally, one of Max’s closest friends was also diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) at a young age. Max said, “I saw my friend rely on his faith to overcome his battle with leukemia.” Fortunately, his friend did not need a transplant and is now in remission. He added, “I hope the recipient did not feel he had to rely on a stranger. I hope he relies on faith in God, his family, and doctors to help him overcome his diagnosis.”
This past January, Max flew to Detroit for his bone marrow donation. He said, “The process was easy and the people with Gift of Life were an absolute pleasure to work with—Sarah F., who works in donor services, was the best!” He explained, “I basically showed up, and the medical staff took care of the rest. It did not hurt; I just had some soreness on my hips and back and I did take a week off after the procedure to rest. Luckily, I had family and friends who supported me through the entire process.” He added, “To those who are hesitant about going through with the process, ask yourself…what if it was you or your child?”
This young man has had his share of adversity and has come through with character and grit. He was put into foster care at the age of thirteen and subsequently was adopted by a loving family. He now works for the United States Army Reserve where he has earned distinguished honor graduate and was awarded the Army Achievement medal. He also plays football and has played for Allegheny College as an all conference tight-end since 2011.
Asked if he would donate again, Max said, without hesitation, “Absolutely!” Max hopes to run a drive or volunteer for Gift of Life in the future and hopes his story will inspire others to become a volunteer bone marrow donor and join the registry.