Two years ago, when Concordia University junior Miranda Hurley joined the Be The Match bone marrow registry, she didn’t think much would come of it.
The odds of her tissue type matching that of one of the millions of blood cancer patients worldwide were slim (about one in 540 Be The Match registry members go on to donate) and she figured it’d be years, if at all, before she’d be asked to donate.
All of that changed recently when she got a phone call that could change her and a complete stranger’s lives.
The call was from a representative of Be The Match who said that Miranda was a match for an elderly man battling Leukemia. After a series of tests to confirm their compatibility, Miranda jumped at the opportunity to save a life.
“God wouldn’t have given me the opportunity if I couldn’t handle it,” Miranda said.
In the weeks leading up to her February 17th donation, Miranda went through additional testing and received a series of painful shots. These shots, which draw the marrow out of your bones, often leave patients with a wide range of symptoms, most common of which are persistent pain in your bones, headaches, and fatigue.
Although many donors take time off of work or school to deal with these symptoms, Miranda persevered. She’s currently working clinicals in the Radiologic Technology (X-Ray) program, and didn’t want to fall behind in her studies by taking time off.
As a student who hopes to work in the medical industry, Miranda could sympathize with her match.
“I’m with patients every day, so I see what they are going through,” she said.
The day before the donation, Be the Match paid for a hotel room in Milwaukee so Miranda’s mom could be there for the donation. In fact, Be the Match covers all the travel, lodging, and procedural costs of the donation, so donors aren’t charged in any way.
When the day of the donation arrived, Miranda was ready to do her part. Bone marrow donations generally take 4-6 hours to complete and the donor is not able to move during the donation.
Thankfully for Miranda, she completed the donation in record-setting time in just under two and a half hours. “The donation was way easier that anyone expects it would be,” she said.
Soon after, a courier arrived to collect Miranda’s marrow and rushed it to the patient battling Leukemia. All Miranda knows at this time is that her donation went to an elderly man, and in one year’s time, she has the option to learn the patient’s name. In the meantime, Be the Match will provide Miranda with updates on the man’s health status.
Though painful at times, the experience of donating bone marrow to help save someone’s life is one that Miranda says she would do again in an instant.
And the need is great. Seventy percent of all patients who need a transplant don’t have a matched donor in their family, according Be The Match’s website.
Throughout the donation process, people often asked Miranda why she would go through the effort and pain to help a complete stranger.
“Seventy-two is how old my grandpa is,” Miranda explains. “If I didn’t do this, this man might not live to see his grandkids grow up. If it was your grandpa, what would you do?”
We hope Miranda’s story has inspired you to join the Be the Match registry. For more information, or to get your registry kit click here.
Concordia University is committed to serving our community and the world through acts of Christian service. We encourage you to join the Concordia Week of Service, March 12-20, as a way to spread God’s love to others. Visit www.cuserve.com for more information and to begin serving today.