A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.
Johnathan’s message to registry members
“I don’t think they realize how good of a thing they are doing just yet. Once you get the call and you get to donate, you are a hero to at least one person – it’s the best feeling – you’re a hero.”
How his chance to be a hero came along
Eight years ago as a student at the Texas School of Business, Johnathan joined the Be The Match Registry®. Four years after joining, Johnathan was called as a potential match for a woman with non-hodgkins lymphoma. Further tests found that he was the best match.
Reaction of friends and family
When Johnathan first told his family and friends what he was about to do, they didn’t really understand why he would do it. What was Johnathan’s motivation? “My son Nicholas was born with cystic fibrosis – I would hope that if someone could help him, they would,” said Johnathan. But with time and education about the donation process, his family and friends became very supportive and proud.
Two months after he got the call saying he was a potential match and the day after his birthday, Johnathan donated peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to help save this woman’s life.
Connecting with his recipient
A year after donation, Johnathan was able to connect with his recipient, Melissa1. Because the two lived in different parts of the country, (Johnathan in Texas and Melissa in New York) they stayed in touch via email and Facebook.
Johnathan’s second donation
Melissa was in remission for three years before her cancer relapsed. This past May – four years after the first donation and eight years after Johnathan joined the registry, he donated PBSC for the second time.
As part of PBSC donation, donors are given injections of a drug called filgrastim, intended to stimulate stem cells, for the five days leading up to donation. The first time Johnathan donated PBSC, the side effects were “not too bad” by his standards. Johnathan described feeling weak, not having as much energy as usual. This time, however, Johnathan had more side effects from the filgrastim injections with the second donation—feeling quite a bit of bone pain and he experienced several headaches— but Advil helped his pain subside in the days leading up to donation.
Around two days after Johnathan’s second donation, his recipient, Melissa sent him an email to tell him that she received his cells. She spent a week in the hospital and then she was sent home. Melissa told Johnathan that every day she is getting stronger.