You Can Do Something BIG
BE THE ONE TO SAVE A LIFE
You can take one or more of these simple action steps today -- and be sure to share them with a friend!
> Join the Be The Match Registry
Take the first step to become a bone marrow donor. Thousands of patients hope for a bone marrow donor who can make their life-saving transplant possible. They depend on people like you. You have the power to save a life. Take the first step today.
> Give a Financial Contribution
Make transplants a reality for patients. The need is great. You have the power to help, the power to heal. You make bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants a reality for patients when you give to Be The Match Foundation(SM). Thousands of patients with leukemia and other diseases depend on us to raise funds to grow the Be The Match Registry, provide financial assistance to help patients throughout their transplant journey, and advance medical discovery. You have the power to save lives. Donate today.
> Get Involved - Help Spread the Word
Be part of the Be The Match community. We're working together to help patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases get the bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants they need. Join our online communities on Facebook and Twitter or send an e-card.
> Stay In Touch
Sign up for email on how you can help and be part of our life-saving work. Sign up to receive e-mail from Be The Match Foundation and National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). We'll keep you informed about our work and ways you can get involved.
> Grow The Registry
Individuals and families can make a difference. You have the power to help. When you grow the Be The Match Registry , your efforts may help save the life of any patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. The donors you recruit will become part of every patient's search for a matching marrow donor. You can make a difference to patients everywhere.
> Donate Umbilical Cord Blood - At Your Baby's Birth.
A joyous event for you could become the same for someone in need. In the past, when a baby was born, the umbilical cord was thrown away. But today, blood from the umbilical cord can be collected after your baby's birth and donated to a public cord blood bank to help someone with a life-threatening disease. Learn more about you can do this here.
ONE COMMITTED MEMBER'S STORY
If called as a match, the potential donor's commitment to donate is very important. All donors have the right to change their mind, but a late decision can be life-threatening to the patient. Everyone should think seriously about their commitment before joining the Be The Match Registry.
Tom Wilhelm joined the Be The Match Registry in 2000 after hearing about a local Colorado girl who needed a marrow donor. Unfortunately, she didn't make it, but her story stuck with Tom.
Getting the Call
In 2004, Tom was called as a possible match for a 29-year-old wife and mother from Illinois. He went in for further testing and asked a lot of questions. Tom knew he was going to go through with the marrow donation, but he asked a lot of questions to better understand the science of the process.
The Donation Experience
Tom was put under anesthesia during the marrow donation procedure. "It hurts some when you are awake, but let me put it this way: I had the procedure on Thursday and was back at work on Monday," Tom said.
On the day of the donation, he wasn't worried about pain or discomfort, his only fear was that the doctors would say you can go home; we won't be going through with the marrow donation. Tom just wanted to give the patient an opportunity to live. (If you'd like to learn more about the donation process, click on the video here.)
Tom says that donating really wasn't a big deal; the effort it took on his part was minimal. "Yes, you can say I saved a life, but my part was just a little cog in a machine built by scientists and doctors," he said.
Making Contact with Joey
After the one-year waiting period, Tom was able to learn his recipient's name: Joey Stott. They talked on the phone and sent a few e-mails. "Prior to contact with Joey, the whole experience was very rational," Tom expressed. "There was a logical progression in every step. When I got to talk to Joey, it all became very emotional."
"All I hope for Joey is to have a great life," said Tom. "To have the opportunity to continue to be a wife, a mother, a daughter -- to have more time with her family."
Tom later found out that ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was building Joey and her family a new home. He was happy to help with the project and continue to honor his commitment by helping on the show. The episode aired on November 15. The Stott family received a visit from Ty and the design team, along with a special guest: Tom. This event marked the first time that Joey was able to meet her life-saving donor. You can read more about this story on these blog posts: Tom's Story and Big Results.