After a while, the days become a blur. We are travelling this country on a mission & the days are long. I am tired today- emotionally & physically. Some days I have to look at our itinerary to even know what town I am in. Every day brings something new & different. Mostly good but sometimes the stories of the children sick or dying can get to me…..if it didn’t get to me then I would be a cold hearted bitch. Today I was thinking about the last few children I have met. One of them was lucky enough to make it to stem cell transplant as a possible cure for them. It made me realize how people like you & I can actually help in another way.
Have you ever heard of stem cell transplants (or even bone marrow donating)? It’s not exactly common discussion so let me at least tell you a bit about it here. It is something that I can tell you saves lives & it is quite easy to do. I thought it was a major procedure & it is not at all. Check out the website at www.onematch.ca. Maybe you can be a donor? Check it out- seriously- maybe you could be a donor. Have you ever thought about that? Here are some facts:
Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into any cell present in the bloodstream: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other blood components. Blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells. They come from bone marrow, circulating (peripheral) blood or umbilical cord blood. People whose diseases inhibit their ability to produce these kinds of cells need a transplant of healthy stem cells from a donor. Donors may be asked to donate either peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow depending on the physician’s choice of therapy for the patient. After donating, most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days.
- Peripheral stem cells are collected from circulating (peripheral) blood. Because only a small number of stem cells is released into the blood stream, a cell growth stimulating drug is administered to donors prior to the donation to dramatically increase the volume of stem cells in the blood for collection & transplant. With PBSC collection, your blood is drawn through a needle in a non-surgical procedure done at the hospital. After the stem cells are separated from the blood, the rest is returned back to your body through another needle. To increase the number of blood stem cells in your bloodstream, you will receive daily under the skin injections of granulocyte colony stimulated factor (G-CSF) for five days before the donation.
- Bone marrow is the soft, jelly-like tissue found in the hollow center of bones. It is like a factory that produces stem cells, which are the building blocks of blood. Bone marrow donors undergo a surgical procedure where the marrow containing the stem cells is collected from the pelvic bones. This is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Hollow needles withdraw stem cells from your bone marrow from the back of your pelvic bones. The procedure lasts 45-90 minutes. Risks associated with bone marrow donation include infection, pain or numbness in a leg, bleeding at the donation site, bruising & possibly lower back discomfort. Most donors recover well and are back to their normal routine within several days.
So, now that you have heard some of this, would you consider this if it meant saving a young child’s life? What if it were your own child? Would you want to have a match for them?