Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch…”
It seems like a lifetime ago that I joined a group of amateur athletes through Team in Training to prepare for my first BIG race, the Mrs. T’s Chicago Triathlon. I joined because I wanted help training for a race I was a little nervous about attempting on my own. I trained hard with my coaches because I wanted to get the most out of the experience and, well, not embarrass myself. I raced in honor of the brave little girl we met through our local chapter who was then fighting a terribly unfair battle with leukemia. I was as dedicated to my fundraising for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as I was to getting in my laps and miles at the gym. My timing was serendipitous as the patriarch of the family-owned company where I worked supported the LLS as one of his major charitable causes. The love of his life for over fifty years was also fighting a blood cancer. With his help, I was able to humbly raise over $10,000 to help others who were in the middle of their own fights with cancer. The good news is that I finished the race and did not in fact embarrass myself (or my coaches hopefully). The great news is that the little girl is now all grown up and has been in remission for ten years. I could not have known then how personally cancer would affect my own life, my daughter’s life. There was a sweet little boy in the room next to Mary Hazel’s at the cancer clinic who was going toe-to-toe with leukemia. He was struggling during our time there. From what I just read on his CaringBridge site, Will is doing really well but will continue treatment for another two years. If I could train for another race to help Will and others, I would. If I ever have another chance to raise $10,000, I will. Until that time, I decided to help victims of blood-related cancers in a slightly different way.
Today I took the first step to become a bone marrow donor and joined the Be The Match Registry, the National Marrow Donor Program. Like jury duty, it is very possible that I may never be contacted to donate any of my healthy marrow. If I do somehow get matched with someone who could use my help, I would consider it an honor. Though my daughter, who is blissfully in remission, did not have a blood cancer, I would have done anything within my power to help her heal. Since I have my healthy girl back, I would love to be able to pay my intentions forward to potentially help another child of another worried mama. I made a lot of promises very late at night in that sterile hospital room nine months ago. I vowed to pay it forward however, whenever, and whatever. This opportunity seems to fit the bill rather nicely.
I encourage you all to check out the registry. Even if you don’t want to part with your marrow, you could still give a nice donation toward research.
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match”