A few years ago I was with my kids at a community event. A spring carnival or something with rides, ice cream, and a booth with people asking folks if they would sign up to have their cheeks swabbed for the Gift of Life's bone marrow registry. We got our ice cream, and I somehow started talking to a person whose life had been completely transformed by a bone marrow transplant. And another who was alive as a result of a transplant. Usually I wouldn't pay much attention to this type of event with little kids pulling at me to go this way, go that way, but maybe it was the marketing tactic, the hot sun beating down or me or the fact that I was suddenly hit with the idea that I could actually contribute something substantive in my lifetime that made me swab my cheeks with the q-tippy looking sticks and donate the $60 processing fee it would take to actually maybe help someone some day. I went home and honestly hadn't given it another thought until a couple of weeks ago.
In my more existential moments, I sometimes think to myself that we go to work, we try to be good people, we bring up our kids, but what do we really leave behind when we're gone? Some really awesome memories for those we love, maybe a great recipe for chocolate bread pudding, maybe even a legacy of some kind. But we don't leave much of a mark outside of our own families, sad but true.
Recently a 4 year old girl in my community and hometown of Montreal was diagnosed with a scary sounding cancer that essentially means her bone marrow is failing and if she doesn't get a transplant VERY soon, it will progress into an even worse disease that may have no cure. Not good. It got me thinking again about contributing to life in a meaningful way and I reached out to a family member of Jayden (the little girl) to see how I could help from afar.
After all, isn't something happening to our children the worst possible nightmare?
Turns out bone marrow is bone marrow no matter which city, state or country it comes from as long as it matches that of the recipient. So within the last few days, I've joined forces with some other ladies who also want to help find Jayden a match as well as the Gift of Life contact here in Boston, and we're planning, planning, planning.
I will continue to post info about drives being held in Montreal, Boston, NY and other places as they are scheduled. In the meantime, if you're between the ages on 18-60, GET TESTED! And if you can't for whatever reason, consider donating to the cause - it takes $60 to process the test kits and there's just not enough funds available. I can't think of any more rewarding life experience than helping to save a life.
Follow FightForJayden on Twitter and Facebook for details on drives and how you can help. It doesn't matter where you are, please spread the word, copy my post and re-blog, whatever it takes - numbers are paramount and you just never know, you might help save a life.