April 25, 2011

Be the One to Save a Life.

Margy Holding One of Her Three Grandchildren.

Without Being Late From Lunch.

Aprille has a daughter who is two days younger than my daughter, Opal. We met when the girls were 3 weeks old and have spent countless hours together since, going for walks, taking the girls to the park, deconstructing one another’s living room, dining on the lawn at the farmer’s market. The girls celebrated their first birthday together over banana-muffins at Chautauqua Park, bundled in hoodies to stave off the bitey autumn sundown.

The girls are growing up together. They are nothing shy of family.

So when I heard Aprille’s mother, Margy, is ill with bone marrow cancer, my heart sank.  She is a grandmother to three precious grandchildren and deserves to see them all grow into the unique individuals they are destined to be. To witness the school pictures, birthdays, tooth-fairy visits, proms and all the rest of those irreplaceable growing-up particulars. I had the good fortune of meeting Margy at her granddaughter’s first birthday. She was able to fly out (to Colorado) from her home in Pennsylvania, but it took a heck of a toll on her. She was unable to shake my hand due to the vulnerable state of her immune system.

Aprille and her sister have both made attempts to donate their marrow, but there have been complications and the donations have been, thus far, unsuccessful.  Margy’s doctors at John’s Hopkins have been searching for a suitable donor for over two years without success.  Meanwhile her blood counts have been maintained with a chemotherapeutic drug, but its effectiveness seems to be waning.*

In short, Margy needs help.

And I can’t stop myself from thinking what if this were Opal’s grandmother? I’d certainly do everything in my somewhat limited mortal-power to help out in whatever way I possibly could.

This happens to be one of those rare examples where what is needed to make a major impact on someone’s life is pretty straightforward, realistic and step-by-step clear.

There are three ways to do something:

There will be a bone marrow drive May 5-7th 2011 on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado in honor of Margy, assembled by Aprille and hosted by the Bonfils Colorado Marrow Donor Program.  Aprille and a handful of her friends have rallied a grassroots effort to raise funds so that the people who want to become part of the (bone marrow) registry can do so free of charge.  According to the National Marrow Donor Program, some tissue types are uncommon and inherited, causing patients to be most likely to match only someone with the same heritage. This simply means it’s crucial to have as many people on the registry as possible.

Stop in during your lunch break—on one of the three aforementioned days—between grabbing a cup of coffee and buying a handmade art trinket.   Have your cheek swabbed and add yourself to the donor registry.

If you don’t live in Boulder, consider Margy’s to be one of many many similar stories. By donating money for her Bone Marrow Drive, you are helping those who want to join the registry do so free of charge.  This is a very good thing. Another option for those non-Boulderites, or Boulderites who are unavailable May 5-7, is to join the bone marrow registry on your own. Take a 5-minute break from playing solitaire during your lunch break to order a kit to do so. You don’t even need to stop chewing.

Do it for Margy and for every other Margy out there. Do it for your own grandmother, grandchild and family, in the hopes that each and every seat around the dinner table remains filled for a very long time to come.

*Some of the content in this article was excerpted directly from the Margy’s Be The Match Webpage and flyer.

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Heather Grimes  |  Contribution: 11,375