This post is not really connected with travelling, or at least not in literal meaning of this word. But sometimes it’s worth remembering that when we are exploring the world, enjoying some amazing views with a glass of cold, local beer, a lot of people begins a totally different journey. And unfortunately it’s not like one of ours – full of unforgettable moments, great people, laughter and happiness, from which we will come back to share our experiences with our relatives and friends. Their journey is rather full of fear, uncertainty and worries. What’s more, unfortunately a lot of people have a one-way ticket only.
I have registered recently as a volunteer hematopoietic cell donor, or more commonly, bone marrow donor and that’s where my reflections come from.
I thought it’s worth writing about after I heard questions like “aren’t you afraid?”, “but it’s dangerous, will you take the risk?”, “but it hurts!”.
Joining a registry of bone marrow donors – FAQ
1. Aren’t you afraid?
I don’t have any reason for now 🙂 Will I be afraid when I am asked to donate? Probably yes. But it is a challenge for me, another way to exit my comfort zone. And I like challenges! Especially the ones which may result in saving someone’s life.
2. Is bone marrow donation dangerous?
I have read a lot of Internet sites about it. All of them say that NO, bone marrow donation is not dangerous. In spite of numerous gossips which are around, bone marrow is not taken from the spinal cord and there’s no danger it will get damaged. It is taken either from our blood or from our pelvic bone. The first way is really non-invasive, it is similar to blood donation and the donor is back at his full strength very quickly. The other one is conducted under anesthesia, so it requires a short hospitalization, but still it is not dangerous for the donor.
3. Does bone marrow donation hurt?
When the cells are taken from our blood the only pain is when the needles are placed in our veins. If they are been taken from our pelvic bone, the pain is comparable to the one you feel after hitting a corner of a table. It happened to me few times and I am still alive… 🙂 Anyway, even if it hurts more, it will be nothing in comparison to the pain the recipient feels during his everyday battle with the disease. So why shouldn’t I manage?! I think the least pleasant for me would be the series of injections every donor needs to take before his donation. But again, it is nothing compared to what the recipient feels every day.
4. How to register as bone marrow donor?
Registration process is supereasy. In my case, I’ve registered online on the website of the foundation DKMS which gathers potential donors (Polish readers, check Polish versionfor details :)). A week later I received a registration pack which included a form, an instruction and additional information and two sticks with which I obtained a swab from my cheek. I sent it all back to the foundation.
|Bone marrow donor registration pack|
|Sticks for obtaining the swag|
Voila. The only thing left is to wait for my potential donor card. And for the information, that it’s time to help someone. There are many ways to register, I’m sure it’s equally easy in your country.
In the world registry of potential donors there are over 25 million people. Is it a lot? It seems so, but still it’s 0,0036% of world population. Not so many…
Let’s be “born globals” and help each other globally if we can. People fighting their disease have to be brave every day, why should we, the healthy be afraid? Let’s help them return from this journey they didn’t want to start. Let’s give them a chance to experience the one they may be dreaming about 🙂 I know that not everybody can be a blood or bone marrow donor. In any case, don’t let fear stop you – from anything.
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