And I’m not talking about Match.com, or any of those other dating websites. I am talking about being available and ready if your match needs you to step up, brave the needles and the blood and the hospital, and do your best to save their life. Ok, I’ll get more specific. I’m talking about doing your bit to help others beat blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. You all know that I have a significant beef with cancer, and if you need a refresher, you can read about it here.
After years of (unnecessarily) being a total chicken, I finally signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry, so should someone be perfectly matched to my tissue type, I can do right by them and try to save their life by donating. What launched me into action? A little bad news about a girl I hardly know. Kia Bowman-Momtazi is a lovely young girl who I only met a handful of times when she lived in San Diego. She was frequently our waitress at Jimmy Carters’s, a favorite breakfast spot, and she was acquainted with The Boyfriend because they both used to write for San Diego CityBeat. Last spring, Kia was diagnosed with lymphoma, and I won’t go into that here, but if you want to learn more about Kia, her diagnosis, and her progress, you can read all about it on her wonderful blog, CaliforniCancerCation.
What I will go into is how easy it was to get registered for the National Bone Marrow Registry, and how silly I feel for having waited so long to do it. All along, I had thought that just to get registered I would have to face needles and blood, which if you know me, you know is a non-starter. I am unbelievably phobic when it comes to needles and blood, so much so that I passed out and ended up with my head over the toilet when The Kid got a minor bloody nose a few weeks back. But as it turns out, all you need to do to get registered is swab the inside of your cheek. Granted, should I be matched with a patient at some point, then I will have to face needles and blood and more; but I’m confident that should the time come, I can muster all of my bravado, and comfort myself knowing that my actions are potentially helping someone get a second chance at life. Here is all you have to do to get registered, in 4 easy steps:
1. Click on this link: Be The Match
2. Answer the questions in the registration section to confirm that you are eligible to be registered to donate. This takes about 10 minutes or so.
3. Complete the online form so that your registration kit can be mailed to you. Then wait patiently for a few days for your kit to arrive.
4. When your kit arrives, follow the instructions to swab your inner cheeks and mail it back. No return postage required!
5. (Bonus Step). This is where you sleep well at night knowing that you are ready and willing to help save someones life should you need to.
So I ask that you get yourself registered, and if you need a good reason, I’ll give you three. Do it in honor of the three women that I did it for: Kia, a bright and beautiful young woman who still has a great shot at beating lymphoma and doing tons of great things in her long life; The Boyfriend’s mom, a lovely and eternally positive woman who beat lymphoma several years back; and my amazing Grandma Olga Woytkiw, who made incredible borscht, pierogies, and holopshi, who taught me to play Rummikub, and who I miss every day because she didn’t survive her battle with lymphoma 20 years ago.
One more time for good measure, here is that link to get you started: