Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three years on

Three years ago, a complete stranger donated bone marrow to save my life. We were not a perfect match, but close enough. This complete stranger was the only person out of thousands of people on all of the registries who could, through the selfless act of donating, save my life. I'm one of the lucky ones. There are so many in need of a bone marrow transplant who have no viable matches.

A year later, I learned this stranger's name: Dana. A short while later, I received an email from her. I was surprised to learn that we are the same age.

Today, I marvel that I am able to sit in my home and enjoy most of the same activities I loved before the dark days of diagnosis and treatment. The small number of friends that I've made at school have no idea that I spent the better parts of 2007-2009 bald due to chemo. Today, I get to be myself. No awkward silences or difficult questions.

Today, I get to marvel at the novelty of being normal thanks to a beautifully selfless soul who took the time to register as a bone marrow donor.

Today, I get to thank her one more time.

Thank you, Dana.


The Plush Gourmet said...

Thank you, Dana, for saving Ann's life!

Ann, I think one of the saddest days for me was the one on which I got the letter telling me that due to my illness and treatments I had been removed from the donor database. It's been nearly 5 years now - 2 more and I can retest and hopefully get my full donor status back.

Come ON people - we need more eye, marrow, and tissue donors!

lisa adams said...

I can't be a donor, but I can help try to encourage others to do it.

Dana, if you read these posts, please know that my life is richer for Ann. I never would have known her if your gift hadn't saved her life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for bringing a friend to me... her kind and gentle ways, her love for her husband and friends is so special... and I also appreciate the way she whoops my ass at word games daily.

Ann, love you and wish you years of happiness with Dana's gift of life.

Jody said...

For Dana,

I can't tell you how grateful to you. It is hard to write a thank you letter like this w/o going over the top. That said please know that the young woman whose life you saved has become my 'go to' friend for her incredible wisdom, kindness, intelligence and amazing view on the world.

I thank you.
(She hasn't yet beat me in word games...but we'll get there).

With love to you both,

Dianne said...

Happy 3rd Birthday and a Big Thank You to Dana. July 24th was my daughter's 3rd birthday and we went to NYC and met her donor. Thank you Jonathan. Enjoy each day as a "Normal Person" Thanks for sharing your blog..


Chris Alexander said...

Dear Ann,
I registered because of you, and if I ever get called,
I will donate--because of Dana's example. Chris (cay0730)

stinkerbelle said...

You know, sometimes I come here to your blog and read a post like this that is so incredibly moving that I find myself reduced to tears, right now. I can't begin to put my thoughts into comprehensible words and right now, this is the best that I can do. Usually, I have to leave and think on it for a day or two before I can come back to post something but I decided to just let what I can, flow out thru the laptop. I hope you understand. Love you, Ann. Happy birthday. And Dana, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gift of life.

Nancy said...

Happy 3rd Birthday Ann. Sending huge THANK YOU's to Dana! You are a miracle worker and lifesaver. I wish I could meet my donor, but that will never happen, so sending gratitude to you and all who have stepped up to save precious lives! Ann, enjoy each and every day, as each moment is a gift! love ya...

PJ said...

So glad to hear you're doing well, Ann. Where would we be without our donors? At my photopheresis lab, I come into contact with stem cell donors every week. The process sounds easy, but these people can go through some rough stuff to save us. Still, they do it, and we thank them.

Ronni Gordon said...

Congratulations on your third birthday and yes, thank you so much to Dana and all the other wonderful people who have signed up to save a life.

Ann: What kind of communication have you had with your donor?

Ann said...

Thank you, sweet friends.

Ronni, we've only communicated by email.