First Person: Registering As Bone Marrow Donor

Trust the Goal.com team to tell the details of whatever soccer experience has been had in our new First Person feature. In our debut column, three editors relate their stories as the soccer community rallies around cancer-stricken Marcia Williams.
Goal.com staff got involved as part of the U.S. soccer community to aid those in need. No money is needed to perhaps play a life-saving part in someone's life. It just takes a little time.

For more details on the story of Real Salt Lake Player Andy Williams and his family's struggle with a terrible disease, click here.

Zac Lee Rigg, Rigg's Replays
Enlisting to be a bone marrow donor could not have been any easier. To find out where I could sign up, I went to www.marrow.org and typed in my zip code.

It brought up all the drives in my area, so I just picked a day that was convenient and headed out.

The closest drive was down in the University of Irvine, where I had to walk through the college center and under a wall proclaiming the evils of the Palestinian holocaust. For a second there I thought I was going to be late for Lit 475 with Prof. Faller, but then I remembered that I already passed that class and don't go to school anymore.

Once I did find their stand, the process took about 15 minutes. I read all the material and filled out a detailed consent/information form. Then I just brushed the insides of my cheek with a swab for a couple of seconds. After I finished, the lady running the drive gave me a life saver, because, as she said, that was what I had become.

The actual bone marrow donation is far less pleasant, but signing up to donate could not be more painless. Best of all, it hardly takes up enough time to warrant a slot in your calender book, although it certainly deserves one.

Andrea Canales, Canales Daily
At the Mia Hamm Foundation Soccer Charity Game, which was held in conjunction with a bone marrow registration drive, I spoke with actor Dulé Hill.

What's your soccer background?

Hill: I played soccer growing up, until my freshman year of high school. But that was twenty years ago. I support the Galaxy, I guess, because they're in my town - and Landon Donovan's wife, Bianca, came and did an episode of my show, so it's like six degrees of separation.

Landon's in Germany right now, and Beckham's in Milan. Will you still support the Galaxy if those two don't come back?

Hill: I guess so - yeah. This year was actually the first time I've been in person to a game. I came to MLS Cup.

You haven't actually seen the Galaxy play personally?

Hill: No, but I'm going to check them out this year. I'll come down to the stadium, see Chivas USA play, see the Galaxy and then I'll make up my mind.

Does the winner gets your loyalty?

Hill: Or the loser - I like the underdogs. So we'll see.
 
We're hearing all about bone marrow donor registration today - are you registered?

Hill: No, I'm actually just getting hip about it today. I'm considering it after the stories that I've heard. I have some friends who have passed away because of cancers like leukemia and I know bone marrow has something to do with that. I'm going to do some more research and find out. It's a little scary, I'm not going to lie, when you don't know what it's all about. Hopefully, the next time I talk to you I can say, "Guess what, I did it. I'm registered." 

I'm registered. My mom's a nurse and she was really adamant telling me how the registry needs more minorities. It is a little scary to think of the marrow donation, because it's a big needle that goes deep into your hip, but she told me that most people are up and walking out the same day.


Hill: There's a needle for registration?

Oh, no! That's only a cheek swab. I was talking about if you ever get the call when there's a match and someone needs bone marrow. I've been registered for years now and it's never happened to me, but I do understand wanting to know more about it first. I asked a lot of questions before I registered, but then I signed up.

Allen Ramsey, The Short List

Unlike my Cali-coworkers I found no donor drives in my area when I started looking for a place where I could enter the bone marrow registry.

So, rather than waiting until I could find a scheduled drive, I thought it would be good for one of the Goal.com staffers to do the mail-in version.

Here’s what happened.

I sent an email to info@dkmsamericas.org, including my name and address and a request for the donor kit. I got a return email just a few minutes later, and they asked for me to send a confirmation email, stating that I understand what the commitment is and that I am eligible to donate. It will take some time for the kit to get to me, but as for requesting the kit, it was super simple.

I filled in the information asked for on the site. However, I thought I would include the link to the DKMS site here so that anyone who would like to take the same steps would have the same info as I did.

The kit should arrive in the next week or so, but if there are more steps that I have to take to get the kit sent back to them properly, I will update this article. I also intend to write a follow up piece detailing what was involved in giving the samples from home. (I have the luck of having someone from the medical field in my house, so anything she has to explain to me about the giving of the sample, I’ll pass along in the follow up.)

It is important to understand your commitment by doing this, but also how many lives are on the line. Aside from Andy Williams and his wife Marcia, thousands of other people are waiting on marrow transplants, and if you’re like me, you know more than one of them.

Goal.com