Because they are unable to find a match, thousands of patients with leukemia and lymphoma worldwide do not have a bone marrow donor.
There are organizations that can help solve this problem such as Be The Match. Be The Match is an organization that connects patients with donors to save lives.
Be the Match to Save Lives
To donate bone marrow, one has to be 18 to 40 years old and meet the organization’s health guidelines.
Once they have found a match, the donation can be made and will save the life of the individual fighting cancer.
They also accept financial donations and participate in fundraising activities. They also provide support for the families of patients and their loved ones.
Be The Match has helped millions to fight cancer through bone marrow donations per se. One of these children is a 3-year-old boy in Indiana who was saved from cancer by a young Boston woman.
Jacob Struggles With Leukemia
Jacob Parry, just 14 months old was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctors at Riley Hospital for Children suggested a blood stem cell transplant to treat the child’s cancer as it has aggressively infiltrated not only his blood and bone marrow but also his skin.
While Jacob was in pain at the hospital a few years back, Rachel Buck was a senior student at the University of Haven, getting ready for the next chapter of Rachel’s life.
One fateful day, they had a “Get in The Game” recruitment event in school and she joined the Be The Match Registry. Rachel didn’t have any second thoughts about joining as she also had a family member with cancer.
“One of the statistics that was mentioned that really stuck with me was that only about 30 percent of patients can find a match within their family, leaving the other 70 percent to rely on the registry – strangers, basically,” Rachel said.
“That really struck me because I couldn’t imagine having a family member in need like that and not being able to help them.”
Rachel Gets a Call that Can Save Jacob’s Life
Rachel was contacted by a leukemia patient who was one year old a few years later.
She agreed to be Jacob’s donor right away. “Learning he was 14 months old at the time really struck me since I have two nieces close to his age. I couldn’t even imagine what his family was going through. From that moment, I was very eager to do what I could,” said Rachel.
Just a few days before Rachel’s birthday, she bravely faced the bone marrow transplant, which took only about an hour and half. Although the experience was scary, Rachel knew she would do it again.
Jacob Finally Meets His Donor
Rachel finally met Jacob’s family two years later. Bravehearts hosted events every week to encourage people to donate and wanted to arrange a meeting between Rachel and Jacob, her recipient.
“I was insanely nervous,” Rachel confessed. I was worried they wouldn’t like me, or that Jacob, being a three-year-old would run away from me. They aren’t a family that seeks the limelight, but for everything they have been through, their strength and resilience deserve recognition.”
To Rachel’s surprise, Jacob was very excited and happy to meet her. She immediately connected with Jacob’s family.
In fact, her family and Jacob’s family spent the following weekend together. Rachel said she felt like she gained a whole family and couldn’t be more grateful for it.
People Hail Rachel as a ‘Young Hero’
Rachel’s brave efforts didn’t go unnoticed and unrecognized. Many people who saw Rachel and her donor-recipient meeting felt she was a young hero, and were inspired by their story.
Andy Talley, founder and CEO of the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, was one of them. He was present when Rachel met Jacob and his family.
“What an experience to see a lifesaver in-person showing the world how to give back. Marrow donation is truly a gift of life, and in this case, Rachel is a hero.”
This video shows Rachel Buck, a bone marrow donor, meeting Jacob Parry, her recipient.
Be The Match Registry is a way to save lives.