Yesterday Account Manager of Donor Resources, Courtney Entwistle, and Recruitment Supervisor for Be the Match Registry, Nicole Pineault, from the Rhode Island Blood Center, visited Alex and Ani headquarters to provide some information about an upcoming blood drive on Monday, March 18th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hosted by neighboring Teas and Javas and, honorary co-sponsor, Senator Jack Reed, it is open to the public and those interested in attending can either show up to donate or make an appointment at www.ribc.org using Sponsor Code 3281. All donors will receive a complimentary tasting of gelato provided by Teas and Javas.
Additionally, there will be a representative from the Be the Match marrow donor program present. Contrary to popular stigmas, becoming a part of the Be the Match database is as simple as having your cheek swabbed for marrow typing. Those interested must be 18 to 44 years old and in good health. Testing costs are covered by health insurance or Michael’s Fund in Fall, River, Mass., and all you need to do is ask a member of the staff for an application. If you are a match, blood samples will be taken to confirm and then a decision can be made after you receive an informative session and physical exam. Afterwards a marrow donation or peripheral blood stem cell donation will be coordinated depending on the circumstances of the recipient’s condition.
Why should you become part of Be the Match? Because you can save a life like Michael Gama’s. In January of 2011, then a retired police officer, husband and father of three, Gama was diagnosed with leukemia (AML). Just 40 years old, the prognosis was bleak: Without treatment, he would be dead in a month or so; With treatment, he could live up to a year. With slim hope of a complete recovery, Gama went on the national donor registry, hoped and waited.
Several years prior, college student Katherine Prince wanted to be part of something bigger than herself and registered for Be the Match at her college during a blood drive. When she was 26 and living in North Carolina, Prince got the call and her donation gave Gama a second lease on life. Although his recovery was long and included multiple blood transfusions, Gama is now healthy and found a new purpose to his life: To spread the message to other’s about becoming a marrow donor.
We had the pleasure of meeting Gama yesterday and hearing his inspiring story that took him from being ridden with headaches to being diagnosed with cancer to recovery. After being educated further and seeing the possibilities to change a life I ask you not to jump to conclusions or self omit, but to consider registering and remember that you can change your mind at anytime, but wouldn’t you want to help save someone’s life if you could?