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Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student gives marrow to save 2-year-old girl

May 09, 2024 by Gift of Life Donor Story

Every year, members of Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s Campus Ambassador Program (CAPs) coordinate with on-campus organizations across hundreds of universities to recruit new donors. In March 2023, CAPs at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana partnered with the Tri-Delta sorority to swab students interested in joining the registry. One of the over 50 students who swabbed that day was Grant.

“I saw the booth they had set up when I was on campus that day,” said Grant. “I joined because I wanted to be available in the chance that someone needed my marrow or blood stem cells.”

Eight months after he joined the registry, Grant was just getting home from class when he saw a text message from Gift of Life stating that he had been identified as a potential match for a two-year-old girl diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and that he could save her life.

“I’ll admit, I was initially scared when I received the news,” said Grant. “But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that helping someone, saving this little girl, would far outweigh any negatives.”

Grant told his girlfriend, who was very excited for him and joined the registry after Grant was identified as a match. She encouraged him to go through with the donation. Grant’s family was also very proud and excited that he had the opportunity.

Because of the recipient’s age, Grant was asked to donate bone marrow. Marrow donation makes up less than 10% of Gift of Life collections but is often preferred for pediatric patients. This outpatient procedure is conducted in a hospital and is completed while the donor is under anesthesia. Bone marrow is collected from the iliac crest, the large bone in the back of the pelvis.

“I was very anxious about how the procedure would turn out, even though I knew that almost all donations are fine,” said Grant. “I was comforted by every doctor who met with me and the Gift of Life staff I worked with. Everyone was very happy about my decision to donate and reassured me that the collection would go smoothly.”

Grant donated at a hospital in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and after he was discharged, he recovered quickly.

“I got a lot of support from my friends, family, and Gift of Life in the days after my donation,” said Grant. “Everyone was extremely helpful, and the organization’s staff were quick to answer any and all questions I had.”

Grant feels very proud of having donated and encourages others to join the registry and donate if given the opportunity.

“The process was really super easy,” said Grant. “I would do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance.”

Grant was also featured with an interview about his donation in the school news. Click here to read that article. 

Grant, 22, will be graduating from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this year and plans to work as a software engineer. He lives in St. Louis and enjoys hiking, reading, and playing videogames in his free time.