As you read these words one of the most momentous events in my life has occurred. I underwent a successful operation at City of Hope where surgeons extracted my bone marrow and transplanted it into a young woman, so she can win her battle with cancer and enjoy a second chance at life.
Indeed, for all the procedures I underwent and for all the screening processes I experienced, including the donation and testing of many pints of blood, for every visit to City of Hope and for every piece of correspondence and education I received from the Be The Match Registry – confirming I was a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant, the images and emotions are so overwhelming; and then I cry tears of joy.
I can use words like wonder, awe, love, humility, gratitude and karma to provide a degree of sense to these events, but there is still a gap; a place where communication is spiritual and the currency of expression is so emotive it feels telepathic. I have a connection. It is the language of the universe, which, despite the assertions of physicists, is in my opinion, more than purely mathematical. This is the connection that binds me to the young woman who may soon leave the hospital and start her life anew.
Let me also answer the question everyone seems to ask, or at least the one my friends and coworkers continue to (politely) pose: Was I afraid of having surgery? Of course I was. Yet all my fears and reservations dissolved into a state of calm when I entered the hospital. From anxiety to tranquility, the transformation was unbelievable.
Again, perhaps that sudden conversion was a form of communication indecipherable by the limitations of the human brain, but penetrable on a plane that no machine can measure, where I knew everything would be okay. More than okay — everything would be successful, and nearby, a young woman would get the lifesaving bone marrow to regain her health. Below is a video taken just hours after the procedure and i’m doing just fine:
Let me therefore make a plea on behalf of anyone considering enrolling in Be The Match or participating with City of Hope – for that plea is both a request and a summons to action:
It is natural to be afraid of surgery, even concerning the most mundane sort of operation, but I implore you not to avoid the chance to save someone’s life, or the one opportunity you may have to save your own. Fear is a natural instinct. Courage is not. Otherwise, the world would be filled with heroes. We have the ability to transcend fear. I did and you can too.
I want to extend that plea to other technology companies. These businesses may be wellsprings of innovation, but none of that compares to this unique experience. I would like to salute another organization, one of the world’s leading merchant service providers and e-commerce engineering experts, for their own involvement in Be The Match: Total-Apps.
One of the Executive Directors at Total-Apps has his medical information cataloged in the Be The Match Registry, and from my perspective that contribution is worthy of respect and celebration. Allow me to tip my cap to Total-Apps. Their actions go beyond having their names inscribed on a wall, posted on a plaque or etched into the facade of a building.
Lastly, to these men and women, to my parents and siblings, and to the young woman who received my bone marrow – to her friends and family, whoever they are and wherever they may be, allow me to say, thank you.
Thank you so very much!
i am a multple myeloma patient and though I may not have benefited directly from your donations, I do appreciate what you have done as we are given a death sentence as there is no cure. I did a transplant at the City of Hope and do have stem cells yet for another transplant. I was told that I can’t do it now as I am very prone to catching this coronaVirus at this point. So, I’ll wait. All the best Shawn!!!