Tami was a 44 year old mother of 2 when she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome* in February, 2009.
Early in 2009 Tami began to feel exhausted. At first she thought she had a lingering flu. Blood tests revealed a much more serious sproblem. Her diagnosis of Myelodysplasia shocked everyone who knew her. She was told at once that due to the rapid progression of the disease she would need a stem cell transplant.
Tami spent the first 9 weeks in the hospital incapacitated. Read more about her diagnosis by CLICKING HERE
Thank You to Tami's Donor (From her cousin Stacie)
CLICK HERE to meet Scott, the anonymous donor who helped save Tami's life!
This is Scott, the person who gave Tami a second chance, literally saving her life, by donating his stem cells to her. Scott joined the marrow donor program registry in 1994 and was quite surprised when he was contacted in May of 2009 and told he was a potential match for a patient in need.
Statistics held true. It's said that most patients will find a match within their own ethnic group. Scott is part Japanese but also part Native Hawaiian and Chinese. And even though he is multi-ethnic, he was a perfect 10/10 match for Tami who is of Japanese descent.
Knowing that 50% of people who are potential matches for patients in need decline to donate their marrow when they are contacted I can't begin to describe how worried I was this could happen to Tami. Some patients need to find 2, 3 or 4 matches before they find a donor who is both able (deemed healthy enough) and willing.
Scott all I can say is thank you. Thank you so much for giving your marrow to my cousin. Thank you for giving her a shot at having a normal life again. Thank you for giving her back her chance at having a future, for being able to be there for her kids and for the rest of her family. We are so grateful.
Some Thoughts from Stacie
Trust me. You do not want to wait to register until someone you care about is the person in need. Most people don't realize that if you aren't already in the registry it can take approximately 5 months to determine if you are a marrow match for a sick patient.
If you are in the registry that time can be cut down to approximately 3 months instead. 1) Once you send in your mouth swabs it can take 8-10 weeks or more to have your sample processed and added to the National Registry to be matched to the specific person you want to help.
2) The patient's tissue sample then needs to be typed and tested against the existing potential donors. The first rounds of this process in the national and international registries can take 3-4 weeks.
3) After the initial screening is completed it takes roughly 2 more months to see if any of the "preliminary" matches are indeed a suitable marrow match once the more formal "confirmative" testing is completed.
For some people that initial 8-10 weeks or more of waiting for a new sample to be added to the registry can be the difference between life and death. So if you or anyone you love or care about is ever in need believe me you will wish that you yourself and every person you know or will meet was already in the database allowing a match to be found to save your loved one sooner instead of later.
Private testing where your results are not added to the National Registry is available but the cost is prohibitive. You can CLICK HERE to learn more about the costs involved with private testing.
Photo of Stacie by: www.WMRPhoto.com