What motivated you to join the Registry?
It was just before my 40th birthday and I was reading a magazine article about a child that needed a bone marrow transplant and that there was a plea to recruit more volunteer donors. It was then that I decided that the best gift I could get for my 40th birthday was to give a gift of hope by having my stem cells tested and joining the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).
How did you feel when you were contacted by the SABMR as a potential donor for a patient?
Although I knew there was only a slim chance that I would be a match for a patient (1 in 100,000), I just always had a feeling that one day I would receive the call…. Two years later, I was at the office I received a call from the SABMR – I had been identified as a possible match for a patient. I cannot explain what went through my mind. As an Attorney, I am trained to maintain my composure at all times but this was an exception! I cried from excitement, then I jumped up and down, causing quite a commotion in the office! I was told by the SABMR that I would need further testing of my stem cells to ascertain the extent to which I was a match with the patient. Time was of the essence and so I went immediately to St. Augustine Hospital to have my blood drawn. Soon after I was told that I was a 10/10 match.
What was your experience like having your stem cells harvested?
For a whole week, I needed to have Neupogen® injections to stimulate my bone marrow to produce more stem cells in preparation for the harvest. Since I live in Durban and since one cannot travel once the injections begin, I flew to Cape Town. I was so happy to have my husband and my two sons by my side. Finally the day came to have my stem cells harvested. I spent that day in the hospital, it took about 11 hours. Throughout that time, a staff member from the SABMR stayed with me. The hospital staff was also amazing. Once the harvest was complete, I felt absolutely fine and was discharged.