Waaaaay back in April of 1997, Brad and I became members of the National Bone Marrow Donor's Registry. A sweet young mother in our church had been diagnosed with leukemia and the search was on to find a bone marrow donor for her. Pretty much our entire congregation was tested at that time and became a part of the national registry. None of us matched this young mom, however, and by the time a match was found and the procedure was done, it was too late for her earthly healing.
Since that time, though, we've remained on the registry, and I've always been careful to keep them updated every time we've moved or our contact information has changed, especially after our experience with Hannah's cancer. Hannah herself was never a candidate for a bone marrow transplant ... it would not have been effective for her type of cancer ... but we've encountered so many families whose children's lives were saved or at least extended following a bone marrow transplant.
We receive generic emails from the National Marrow Donor Program from time to time, so when the email popped up in my inbox the other day, I didn't think much about it. I figured it was just another "Please update your contact information" request. When I finally did click on it, I was prepared just to skim down to the contact information section and make sure everything was still correct. Since we haven't moved in quite awhile (Thank goodness!) I figured it would be just a quick and easy task. Even the "Important Message -- Please Respond" in the subject line didn't alert my radar.
But, I froze as I began reading...
You've been identified as a possible marrow match for a 1-year-old female in need of a transplant. The patient's doctor is trying to determine treatment options as quickly as possible."
The remainder of the email was an urgent plea for Brad to call an 800 number as quickly as possible to confirm whether or not he was still willing and able to be a donor.
As I was still sitting on the couch gaping at the letter on my laptop screen, Brad walked in the door from work. I showed him the email and he picked up the phone, dialed the 800 number, and spent the next twenty minutes on the phone answering questions. Of course, he took the opportunity to share Hannah's story with the NMDP lady as they visited. I think she was pretty amazed that she had found a potential donor who actually had a very personal reason to want to give the gift of life to a child.
She explained that Brad would have to undergo some additional testing to determine if he is an appropriate match for this little girl, mainly involving bloodwork, as I understand it. She emailed us a consent form for him to sign, which I faxed back to her this morning.
And now, we wait. And I am nearly overcome with the hope that he will be chosen.
When we stood in line in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church of Crossett to get our blood drawn for bone marrow testing nearly sixteen years ago we could never have dreamed where we would be today. That one of the two little girls who danced around beside us in that line would now be in Heaven following her own battle with cancer. That we could possibly have the opportunity to give hope and life to a one-year-old girl and her family is almost more than I can imagine. What a picture of God's grace coming full circle!
We don't know this little girl's name. We don't even know what state she lives in. We know she has leukemia, but that may be all we ever know. Would you please join our family in praying for her and her family? I can just imagine that her mom and dad praying that a donor match would be found for her ... and nothing would make my husband and I happier than being the answer to that prayer.