Thinking of My Donor

11 May

It’s here! Transplant day. And I can’t stop thinking about my donor.

If you remember, my donor is a 19 year-old woman from who-knows-where in the U.S. That’s all I know about her demographics, except that she’s got the perfect DNA line-up for me. We’ll have to wait to see if her good DNA carries over to her hair follicles.

All she knows about me is that I’m a 24-year old woman from the U.S. with MDS and am in “urgent need” of a donor.

How selfless is this girl? A complete stranger who has made herself available for a sleuth of blood tests, a physical – and not to mention the procedure itself. And not just for me, but for anyone who comes to Be The Match in search of a lifesaver.

I’m already obsessing about the day we may meet. Be The Match keeps our identities secret from each other until after a year, at which time they connect us if we’re both game. I’m convinced we would be kindred spirits.

We just got word that the bag o’ marrow is set to arrive in Rochester on the 9:05 p.m. plane. From there, it will go downtown to Mayo Clinic to process. Because my donor and I are different blood types (I’ll be moving from O+ – A+), they need to shed her red blood cells from the marrow so that I don’t have a reaction.

After that, it’s a simple four-hour procedure right in my hospital room, much like a blood transfusion. It’s fairly anti-climactic, just another drip-drop bag going in, but this one, this one has the good stuff. 

Thank you to all of you who have joined the Be The Match Registry or donated financially to the cause. You’re making more of a difference than you’ll ever know.

Thank you too for all your comments, notes, and support over the last few weeks. I couldn’t do it without you. I’ve now reached beyond 20,000 visits to my blog, so I know you’re out there. And something you might find fun: I can see the terms people have Googled that lead to my blog. Among the best?

– “The redhead from the 5 hour energy commercial”

– “How do I sell an IV pole in Massachusetts?” 

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20 Responses to “Thinking of My Donor”

  1. erika hanson brown May 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Ms. Redhead:
    You couldn’t possibly know how very much you are giving to others with your updates to your blog.

    I – personally – have this sense that you are talking *only* to me….. that I am such a lucky person to be able to share this journey with you.

    And, Jenna, too, there is just sense of “this is all just a joyful walk in the park”! You make it all sound like such fun!!!

    I so look forward to your write-ups about what is happening with you. And I know that there are also about 19,999 others who feel likewise!!!!

    LOVE to you!!!!
    mayor pro-tem, COLONTOWN

  2. Connie May 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I’m so excited that your donation day is here! From here on out, it’s all positives! I bet your donor is almost as amazing as you.

  3. Lori Thom May 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I will be thinking of you tonight around 10pm & praying!!!

  4. Brittney Dauk (Hillesheim) May 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm #


    I am thinking of you on this day and every day.
    You are an amazing person!!!!

    Praying for you!

  5. Sharon Deutsch May 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Thinking and praying for you Jenna!

  6. Mandy Domeier May 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    You are one of the strongest people I know. Even as you were starting your fight a month ago during the Relay for Life, you were able to be my strength as we finished the survivors lap together.
    Keep the smile on your face as you go into your procedure tonight…we are all thinking of you and your donor today.


  7. Julie Descarrega May 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    I have been thinking about you all day and remembering you as this cute little fiery fourth grader that I adored! You have always had such a vibrant personality and I know that is what has gotten you through everything you have been through. You are always so upbeat and such an inspiration to myself as well as tons of other people. You are very loved and have many prayers and hugs are coming your way! Good luck tonight! I know you will pull through with flying colors. Love ya,
    Mrs. D. :):):)

  8. Fran Albright May 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Jenna, Ive been thinking of you all day. Your donor also.

  9. Linda Hornick May 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Jenna,

    I’ve worked with your Mom for 3 1/2 years. Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and praying for you and I hope the transplant goes well for you. Keep up that positive attitude and it will take you far. Say hi to your Mom for me. Take care.

    Linda Hornick

  10. Corey Schnobrich May 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Stay spunky, Jenna. I signed up for the registry because of you.

  11. Jonathan May 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Thinking of you and your donor tonight and sending you both love, hope & strength.

  12. Bri (Hoffmann) Kerling May 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I’ve been thinking of you all day. Praying for the best. Stay strong my dear!

  13. Jennifer Keene May 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Your positive attitude is beautiful to witness. If I can manage to adopt even a % of it in my own life, I’ll consider the effort very successful.

    Best wishes for good health.

  14. Ann & Emily May 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Flight DELAYED? Well good grief. But I bet they have plenty of dry ice (is that what they use?), and you have a comfy bed. Here’s hoping that by tomorrow morning you will be the proud and grateful recipient of some new bone marrow. Also glad to hear you’re going to be an A+ like me, Emily & Charlie. It’s a great blood type, we haven’t had any problems with it 😉

  15. A-T Mracek May 12, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Jenna, your dad’s friend here again…

    There’s a team of us sending positive energy to from from London!

    Best wishes to you and your donor!!!

    A-T and the Londoners

  16. Lois Guggisberg May 12, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Well, by now you should have a new supply of bone marrow
    running through your body like little soldiers defending you from any unsuspecting germ. Just wanted to give you a heads up about donation, Bryan’s liver recipient said he had a difinite change in his choice of music. (I’m not sure that was really true!) He was a really nice guy though and yes, meeting your donor or recipient is an extrordinary experience. Hope all is well for you this morning. Love as always. Lois

  17. Sue Dommeyer May 12, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Been thinking about you throughout the day and evening. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.


  18. Ann Bergemann May 12, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Hope the process went beautifully!!!! Hope you both can rest easier today for a bit (God gave you a rain day to do just that)! I think and pray for you often! Love you, keep up the spirit and we love to hear from you. Much love and adoration!!! Ann

  19. Rose Fischer May 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Hey there. Think of you and your Mom often and so glad your transplant is over and you’re on your way to recovery.


  1. Good Riddance and Happy New Year « The Redhead Report - January 1, 2012

    […] best outcomes, and when Be The Match had 25 years to build an extensive list of committed donors, one of whom would donate to me when she was only 19. I had great health insurance, an accommodating employer, a cozy home in which […]

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