By Christina Martinez
Whether it’s the little girl who lives across the street, or your co-worker who sits across the way from you, many of us know someone who has been diagnosed with an ailment and needs a helping hand.
In February, Skeeters outfielder, Neil Medchill, put his name on a donor list with Delete Blood Cancer and last week was called into action.
With inspiration from his parents, Medchill says the lord put it on his heart to sign up to be a donor, and so he did. Delete Blood Cancer contacted Medchill about donating just a few months after signing up and says it’s a million to one odds that they called and that it is a blessing. “When I first signed up I thought it would be years from now and it happened in three months,” Medchill said.
When you sign up to be a donor you are asked to either donate peripheral blood stem cells or marrow. The doctor chooses the donation method that is best for the patient.
Based from Delete Blood Cancer’s website, every four minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. Out of those people, only 30 percent of them can find compatible bone marrow donors in their own family. And six out of ten people can’t find a bone marrow donor on the national registry.
For Medchill and his donor recipient, they beat the odds and found each other.
Last week Medchill traveled to his donation destination to donate bone marrow to someone he’s never met – to someone he doesn’t know their name – to someone who he wonders if they have a family. But what Medchill does know is that his recipient is a 40-year-old male that has aplastic anemia and needs a helping hand. Medchill and his recipient both had to prepare for this procedure to take place. “I found out in May that I was a match and I am just now ready to do the procedure,” Medchill said. “He had to go under Chemotherapy just to be able to take the transplant. I had to have a blood transfusion before the surgery so they can give me my own blood back after the procedure.”
Medchill’s recipient called for 1.5 liters (the maximum amount) of bone marrow from his hips. The Skeeter outfielder is home now and on his way to a speedy recovery.
As a part of the donation process, Delete Blood Cancer protects both parties of the donation with privacy legalities. Medchill is not allowed to know specifics of his recipient, other than medical literature, and the same for Medchill’s recipient. After six months, Medchill is allowed to submit a letter to Delete Blood Cancer to review and send to his donor recipient, if both parties agree. Medchill isn’t allowed to tell his recipient where home base is or speak of any personal specifics, but the letter can speak of the procedure and how the two are doing. After a year has passed, and if the two agree, Medchill and his recipient can meet in person.
Medchill says there are a number of things he would want to ask his recipient, but imagines he’d start with a hug. “It’s tough,” Medchill said. “I really want to meet this guy. I’d give him a big hug. I can only imagine the process he had to go through just to even get to the donation part of the process.”
Medchill said he would ask his recipient to talk about his life and about his family. With bone marrow transplants, you acquire allergies and other sensitivities that your donor has. Medchill jokingly says he would warn his recipient to stay away from bananas and calamari. In six months, Medchill plans to submit that letter to Delete Blood Cancer for his recipient and hopes in a year the two can share that hug.