Monday, March 10, 2014

Someone's Match

The first house my family lived in when we moved to Georgia was situated in the best spot in the subdivision - the back. Why was the back the best spot? Well, all the usual reasons for living in the back of a subdivision PLUS we had a great little crew of kids who lived in all the houses around us.

My closest neighborhood friends were the Kenyon girls.... Melissa (who was a little older than me) and Jessica (who was a little younger). We played together ALL the time. Paul and I were even staying at Melissa & Jessica's the day Katie made her grand entrance into the world!

But, eventually, my family moved to a different subdivision, and the Kenyon girls moved to a different state.

Thankfully, social media came about and reconnected me and my oldest friends. 

It was about this very time that I happened to watch an episode of Extreme Home Makeover featuring a family with a young son who was sick and in need of a bone marrow transplant. Throughout the episode, the Extreme Home Makeover team educated the audience about how easy and important it is for people to join the Bone Marrow Registry through BeTheMatch. It was a very powerful hour of television to say the least, and within a couple weeks me, David, and my brother, Paul, were swabbing the inside of our cheeks with little cotton swabs and sending them back to BeTheMatch. 

Jessica found herself doing the exact same thing shortly after she heard that Robin Roberts (of Good Morning America) had been diagnosed with cancer.  

Like many people who join the registry, Jessica didn't anticipate actually being someone's match. But, that didn't stop her from signing up.

"After hearing [Robin Robert's] story and realizing that there are many individuals that do not have matches within their families, I decided to join the registry. I joined because if i were in need of a bone marrow transplant, I would only hope others would be willing to donate to me... I signed up online, got my kit in the mail, swabbed my cheek, and sent it back. Done." - Jessica  

And then Jessica got a letter... A letter that has changed her life forever... A letter telling her that she is, in fact, somebody's match.

It's hard to find a person these days whose life hasn't been affected by cancer in some way. 

Didn't all of us who have lost a loved one to cancer wish when they were sick that we could have given them ANYTHING to make the cancer go away? To make them well again? 

Well, for some specific cancers, that's what a bone marrow transplant does.

I'm humbled by Jessica's heart as she walks through this experience right now. She understands that at any point she has the freedom to back out of being a donor. But, she's decided that she won't back out. Because she's someone's match. She's exactly what that person's family has been praying for.


If you'd like to follow Jessica's journey as she prepares to donate, you can follow her on her blog, brown paper packages.

And, if you'd like to join the registry, visit BeTheMatch.org

You might be like me, David, and Paul and the thousands of others who have never received a letter and will never receive a letter. 

But, you just might be like Jessica. You just might be someone's answer to prayer... you just might be someone's match. 

*Thank you Jessica for giving me the opportunity to share a small piece of your story.