As so many of you know, Tim was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in February this year while on business in Brussels. Our wonderful son, Evan, has been an amazing support for us and joined us in Brussels for the duration of Tim’s care there.
After a month in the hospital (which included 5 days in the ICU), receiving and recovering from his ‘induction’ chemotherapy, we were able to come home to the states where he is continuing his treatment. Tim is considered to be in remission at this point, which we’re incredibly grateful for. In reality, Tim needs a stem cell transplant (known as bone marrow transplant) in order to ensure there is no relapse of the Leukemia.
We are now searching for a match in the national bone marrow registry. We do not know how long this search will take, but we are hopeful it will be soon. Donor cells will help save Tim’s life.
This is not just about Tim though. Seventy percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a bone marrow donor. When you register to be tested for Tim, even if you’re not a match for him, you may be a match for someone else who needs your life-saving bone marrow donation.
- between 18 to 60 years of age (different countries have different conditions).
- in overall good health.
- willing to donate to any patient in need if you’re a match for them.
- not employed in the US military.
- living in the USA or Puerto Rico (If you live elsewhere, please scroll down for links for the registries in your country.)
If this is you then here’s what you can do: Time is of the essence. The sooner we can find a match, the greater the chance that we’ll be able to beat Tim’s cancer for good. If you’d like to see if you could be the one to help save Tim’s life (or the life of another person living with Leukemia and other blood disorders), here’s what to do:
- Register with http://join.bethematch.org/TDroz and they will send you a DIY cheek-swab kit so that you can get tested. It’s a simple saliva test that you can do in your own home. BeTheMatch will ask you for a $10 donation to cover the cost of the kit but this is a donation and if you’re unable to pay it you will still be able to register and receive your test kit.
- Send your cheek swab test back to BeTheMatch immediately so that we can get your results as soon as possible. They provide a self-addressed envelope and no postage is required if mailed in the U.S.
- Help us to spread the word and get more people involved by posting about this on Twitter/ Facebook and asking your friends and family to join the BeTheMatch registry at http://join.bethematch.org/TDroz .
What will happen next? Once you’ve sent your cheek-swab test back, your results will be placed on the national BeTheMatch registry. If you’re a match for Tim or someone else, you’ll be contacted to arrange the donation (though they don’t tell you who you are a donor for). These days bone marrow donation no longer involves surgery – it’s a processing of your stem cells from your blood only. (see more below**)
This small action you take could have a HUGE impact for Tim and our family, or another family living with the fear, uncertainty and dread of Leukemia.
Thank you for considering being a part of the registry, or if you aren’t eligible, a donation to BeTheMatch would go a long way to covering expenses for those who cannot afford a donation to join the registry (getting your swab kit, sending it back, and all the testing is free…no one is turned away who cannot afford a donation).
Our family is so grateful for all the love and support we’ve received from friends and family through what’s been a pretty scary few months this year that have turned our life into a topsy-turvy journey…and the same thing happens to so many other families…out of the blue.
We hold the hope that with your contribution, Tim and many other people diagnosed with leukemia can find the match that will save their lives.
All our love and gratitude,
Deb, Tim and Ev
**What does being a donor involve after I send back the swab kit?
**Many people are afraid to be a Bone Marrow Donor. Being a donor is has simplified over the years. If you are a potential match, you go to the hospital or donor center and get a few shots of Neupogen to stimulate your blood cells. This may cause some achiness or headaches. A few days later, you go back and get an IV put in, and they hook you up to a machine that separates your stem cells from you blood and they collect them for the recipient. No pain. It might require a day off work. Then ‘Be The Match’ foundation delivers those stem cells to the recipient, wherever they are. That’s it…and you can save a life! The process is different if you are a donor for a child, and they may ask you to donate actual marrow – apparently much less invasive and less marrow than they used to need. There have been so many advances in recent years. Many more potential donors needed, but especially mixed race. Please…get the kit. Save a life.
Do I have to pay to donate marrow? Who covers the costs of the procedure?
All medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry, or by the patient’s medical insurance, as are travel expenses and other non-medical costs. The only costs to the donor might be time taken off from work.
For more FAQ about all that’s involved in bone marrow donation, go here
What if I live outside of the USA?
To get on the registry if you live in…
The UK: http://www.anthonynolan.org/
What if I don’t meet the criteria to be a bone marrow donor? Is there any other way I can help?
Yes! Please consider donating cash to BeTheMatch.com so that they can cover the cost of sending out swab kits to people who can’t afford to cover the cost of the kit when they register. Donate Now.
You can also make a huge difference by helping to spread the word and encouraging your friends and family to register at http://join.bethematch.org/TDroz .
How else can I help, Deb?
Thank you for asking! We would love your help with spreading the word and encouraging your friends and family to register at BeTheMatch.com. Every person who joins the registry increases hope for families who have a loved one living with leukemia. Feel free to copy and paste from the sample messages below on Facebook and Twitter:
Small action, HUGE impact. Will you register to see if you’re a match to save Tim’s life?
Could you be a match to save my friend Deb Droz’ husband, Tim’s, life?
(A huge thanks to my dear friend Cath Duncan for writing this page for me. It’s been a busy few weeks, and once we found out we needed to go to the general registry for a donor, it seemed that all my energy was sapped. Her writing of the page for my edit freed all that up. I was sad to replace some of her lovely words like ‘whilst,’ but they were there in the beginning and just beautful to read. 🙂 Thank you, thank you Cath, for offering to do this. So grateful for you.)