The thirteenth chapter of our Illinois Donor Diaries comes from Emily Steffen of Woodridge, IL who is currently a student at North Central College in Naperville. We had the pleasure of meeting Emily earlier this year as she has also fulfills an active role as Vice President of North Central’s Students for Organ Donation chapter.
Emily described the decision to become a bone marrow donor as hardly even being a decision, but rather an act that she hopes any family member would do for another. Emily continues to help us out a great deal, encouraging fellow NCC students, faculty and staff to join Illinois’ donor consent registry.
Thanks for submitting Emily!
November 30, 2007
In March 2007, my sixteen year old brother, David, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia is a condition where the bone marrow stops producing white and red blood cells and platelets. The doctors told our family that we had two options to treat David. The better of the two was to find a bone marrow donor. My family would be tested first and if no related match was found then we would go to the bone marrow registry. If a match was still not found, then he would have to be treated with medication. My sister and I were the two most likely matches, so we went in for blood tests first. A few days after the test, the doctor called with the results and I was found to be a 100% match.
About a week before the transplant, David went through a low dose of chemotherapy conditioning. On April 18th the doctors took marrow out of my hip bone and David received it later that evening. During the next few weeks his blood counts began increasing and he was able to come home in time for Mother’s Day. He was heavily restricted on what he could do when he came home, but as his blood counts increase he is able to do more.
The likelihood of my sister or I being a match was very small. If neither of us were able to donate, we would have had to rely on the bone marrow registry to find a match. Please take a minute or two to re-register as an organ and tissue donor and give someone else the opportunity to live and yourself the opportunity to save a life.
– Emily Steffen