[Day -1] Donor Harvest
Updated: Aug 26, 2022
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him…He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and save them” (Psalm 145:18-19)
Today, somewhere in this country, a 37 year-old man with similar HLA typing as Carter donated his bone marrow to save our son’s life — a man we have never met and does not know who Carter is. He only knows Carter is a ten year-old boy in the United States with SAA.
I have been thinking about this man since I got an unexpected email from our doctor in June saying that we had a donor option respond, and he had agreed to donate. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that moment, where I was, and who I was with. We all shed tears. It was hope for Carter, finally.
Tomorrow, our donor’s bone marrow will be infused into Carter. There is generally some confusion that a bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure for the recipient, but it is not. It is infused, over a few hours, just like the many blood transfusions Carter has received. The hope, and prayer, is that this marrow will eventually engraft and begin producing new stem cells in Carter’s marrow.
Think about that. This man is giving his marrow to a little boy to give him the rest of his life. He is willing to allow Carter to carry his DNA around with him. He is saving him. How selfless is that? In a world where we often see so much bad, there is truly so much good left.
I’m wondering, would you do it? I know I would. Here is a bit about the process for the donor, in case you are interested.
My mind, thoughts, and prayers are with our donor today. Prayers that it was a quick, easy, and abundant harvest. Prayers for his family, who were likely worried during his procedure. Prayers for a speedy recovery from the procedure. Prayers that he will agree to meet us in one year when we are ‘allowed’ to meet so we can look in his eyes and thank him.
As for Carter, he had his total body irradiation this morning. He is beginning to feel the side effects of all his medications and chemotherapies. His appetite is quickly decreasing, and he has spiked a fever. He also had his first of four doses of Abatacept, a drug used to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; a complication of stem-cell transplant). I’ll share more about GVHD later in this process.
Carter’s body is now ready for his donor’s marrow. The marrow is en route to Atlanta. Tomorrow is his "re-birth" day.