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Who wouldn't save a life?

2003-11-14 - 4:00 p.m.

This is a Public Service Announcement, brought on by the talk of needles in my last entry.

I am, despite my legendary fear of needles, on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing if my main phobia in life is needles? Because I compare the effect on me to the effect on the recipient.

I would be a bit scared. Iíd have blood taken multiple times for tests, and then if everything was a go and I was a good match, Iíd be knocked out and up to 1200 millilitres of marrow taken from my large bones such as my pelvis or hip. Thatís over a litre. If you live in the U.S. or a non-metric country, picture a quart of milk and youíd be not far off. Iíd be sore for a couple of weeks while my body was replacing the marrow and recovering from its removal.

OK, thatís kind of grim. Now consider the effect on the recipient.

They would get a chance to live.

Thatís it. Thatís the one important factor for the recipient that balances out anything I could think of for me the donor.

People that need marrow are also typically young. Children. Teenagers getting ready to go off to school. Young parents. Getting a transplant could mean a whole lifetime to look forward to.

How could I not sign up for the program? Itís not easy to find a match and if someone matches me, they probably wonít match many others. I havenít been called at this point because, presumably, they havenít needed anyone with my particular configuration of markers. When they do I will be happy to go and see if I can help someone.

Itís not like a kidney; marrow grows back.

Click here for more info if you live in Canada.

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