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Virginia Gray – Living Donor – Bone Marrow

In January of 2008, I received a phone call from the National Marrow Donor Program that I had been identified as a potential match for a 40-year-old female with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).  I had been on the donor list for five years, and actually had forgotten that I “enlisted” to do this.  Eight weeks later after the initial testing process, it was determined that I was a match.

I went through a physical and more testing at Vanderbilt Medical Center, where the actual collection process also took place.  I elected to donate through a blood stem cell collection, instead of the traditional form of marrow collection through one’s hip.  On July 7th of 2008, my life-saving marrow cells were flown overseas to my recipient, and who I like to think of now as my unknown “sister”.

While the process of getting mentally and physically prepared for this event was at times challenging, I will never regret my decision to attempt to save someone else’s life.  I am updated about my recipient every 6 to 8 months, and presently my “sister” is still alive and well.   I may never meet my recipient “sister”, but through the miracle of donation, she was given a second chance at life.