Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7: Donated Blood and a Bone Marrow Sample

I hate needles. So much so that not only do I get squeamish when I have to give blood or get an injection, but whenever I see a needle going near ANY person I feel like I am going to pass out. Needless to say I have never given blood in my entire life. Just the thought of proactively having a needle jammed in my arm was enough to make me quiver. But I knew when I started on this journey, I was going to end up doing things I wasn't necessarily accustomed to. So when I woke up this morning, I decided to look up places to donate blood. Much to my surprise, Shaun Gayle of the 1985 Chicago Bears was hosting a blood drive at Soldier Field. An opportunity to do a good deed while rubbing elbows with members of the greatest football team ever assembled is something I had to do.

So I met with my friend Matt at Soldier Field and we proceeded to go through the exam to give blood. Prior to doing that, Matt and I learned about a little girl suffering from sickle cell anemia that is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow matches are difficult to find because there are not enough samples and matches in the database. Currently, there are about 10,000 people in the United States in need of a bone marrow transplant, but less than half will receive one due to the lack of suitable matches. Adding yourself to the database is as simple as getting a cotton swab of your mouth, so Matt and I both decided to do it. (If you want to find out more info on how to donate a sample visit

After we gave our samples for the marrow transplant, we went through a quick screening of our vitals. My blood pressure was much higher than normal, and the nurse attributed that to me being nervous (Read: Fear). When I finally sat down, I was calmed down by Lisa, the phlebotomist who was helping me. She found the vein and put the needle in. Much to my surprise, everything went pretty well and I was actually giving blood. However, when they started cycling my plasma back into my system, I started to black out and become nauseous. Luckily, Lisa quickly gave me some fluids that brought me back to normal and I was able to give a full amount of blood. I'm really happy she got me back to feeling good too because after the donation Matt and I were able to tour the Chicago Bears locker room and meet Shaun Gayle and Mike Anderson of the Super Bowl Champs.


  1. i'm on as well.. that's sad that there are only 10,000 of us! good job.. keep up the great work!

  2. 10,000 in need of a transplant....
    I'm on also

  3. I joined the Be The Match Registry just over a year ago, and am SO happy to say that at the end of August (so just a few weeks ago) I actually donated my stem cells. I was chosen as the primary donor in July and we moved pretty quickly to get my stem cells.
    It is such a rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything!!
    Good for you!