Ralph

PRINT

The Yankee win of the World Series was a sweet victory for Ralph and whether you are a fan of them or not you cannot begrudge him for a moment.  Ralph has been a devoted fan.  After retiring 4 years ago, this hard-working New Yorker was ready to focus on the “fun stuff”, like spending time with his wife, Cathy; seeing more Yankee games and spoiling his two grandsons.  However, time came to have a whole different meaning when Ralph learned that he had leukemia.  Ralph received chemotherapy, and did go into remission, but unfortunately it was short-lived.  He has completed a T-cell infusion and more chemotherapy, but little ground has been gained. 

With his options narrowing, his doctors searched the Be The Match Registry for a suitable marrow or cord blood match, but none was found.  Four months later a match still has not been identified for Ralph.  “I have lived a good life and I don’t have any complaints; but I am not ready to leave my family yet,” says Ralph.

Thousands of patients, like Ralph, need an unrelated bone marrow transplant.  While many patients find a match and receive the treatment they need, there is a huge need for more people to join the Be The Match Registry.

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is used to match patients and donors for marrow or cord blood transplants.  Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match the tissue type of someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage.

Becoming a potential marrow donor can seem daunting, but it is easier than you can imagine.  You can join the Be The Match Registry by taking just a few simple steps, if you are between the ages of 18 and 60 years old and meet the health guidelines.  Remember that when you sign up for the Be The Match Registry, you are making a statement that you are willing to help any patient in need.  After some information gathering, all you do is give a swab of cheek cells to be tissue-typed.  This is what will be used to match you to patients in need.

That is all that’s needed to take the first step to help someone who is waiting for this life-saving treatment.  It is a marrow donation opportunity where both the donor and the recipient are living…it is a gift of life and for people like Ralph…a gift of time!

Update - It is with sadness that we share...Ralph lost his battle with leukemia.  Although he never found a bone marrow donor match, he never gave up hope.  In memory of Ralph we wanted to remind you that you can sign up to be a bone marrow donor through the “Be The Match Registry”  if you are 18 to 60 years old and meet the health guidelines.

<< Back to Stories of Hope