Bone marrow drive saves lives

Because of a bone marrow drive like the one recently hosted at Truman State, senior Victoria Holt was able to save the life of a young boy.

Phi Sigma Pi, Delta Sigma Pi and Phi Delta gave students and faculty at Truman the opportunity to save lives by hosting a bone marrow drive through the organization Be The Match Nov. 9-10.

Bone marrow is used to treat patients with blood cancers such as leukemia, and people register to give bone marrow at bone marrow drives, according to Be The Match. Joining the registry requires a sample of cells, usually collected by swabbing the inside of the cheek, which are used to help medical teams find matches for potential patients who needs transplants, according to Be The Match. The registry helps medical team find a match for patients.

Holt wears a mask and gown while in the hospital for her bone marrow transplant to keep her from getting an infection from other patients. Her surgery did not last long and she was able to leave the hospital the same night. Submitted photo.

Holt said she joined the Be The Match registry during a spring 2014 drive at Truman.

“My whole motto as to why I was willing to help is because I believe in temporary pain for momentous gain for someone else,” Holt said.

Holt said she received an email the following September that said she was a possible match for a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. After her medical history was approved, Holt said she was asked to send blood samples to make sure she was a healthy match for the patient.

Shortly after, Holt said she received a phone call informing her the transplant would move forward and asking her if she’d be willing to donate.

“The patient I matched with was a less than 1-year-old baby boy who has severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome,” Holt said.

Holt said combined immunodeficiency syndrome means the boy has a lacking immune system and is therefore unable to fight diseases. She said a bone marrow transplant is the most effective way to treat combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

Holt said she went through more blood tests and a full physical to confirm she was in good health. Through her Be The Match transplant coordinator, Holt said she was able to set up her surgery date at the end of January in Denver.

Holt said Be The Match also takes out a million-dollar life insurance policy on participants and she said she felt honored the organization valued her life to that extent. The policy insures that if Holt were to pass away from a bone marrow-related cause within a year of the donation, her family would receive a million dollars. Holt said she even told her father all the things she wanted if anything were to happen during surgery.

“I didn’t want to admit that I was scared, but having an elective surgery can be a little scary,” Holt said.

To learn more about Holt’s experience and the bone marrow drive, read the rest on Issuu.