Photo Credit: Mighty Mack

21-year-old Luke has saved a life by donating his bone marrow; he registered to be a donor three years ago and was delighted when he got his match call.

 

South Africa (21 June 2022) – Raising awareness for bone marrow recipients is something we often do here on Good Things Guy. Each story is compelling and details the person or child’s needs. We rarely get to share a story about a bone marrow donor, so this is a goodie!

Mighty Mack‘s family recently shared an inspiring story about Luke, a 21-year-old donor who has selflessly saved a life by donating his marrow. Since Mackenzie has received her match, her family is advocating to help others receive theirs too.

Through registration drives and sharing stories about people and children in need, the family is able to pay forward the good done for Mackenzie. The Mighty Mack Army is invited to join a blood and marrow drive happening at the HJW Attorneys in Fourways this week, 22nd June 2022. You can find all the details for the drive here. The drive is to help find a donor for 11-year-old Caylin, who suffers from Aplastic Anaemia.

It was at a similar drive three years ago, that Luke registered to become a bone marrow donor. He was 18 years old, and his school in Durban had encouraged those wanting to join to do so. He did the cheek swab and then waited to hear back.

Like many hopeful donors, a match isn’t always found straight away. Some people can wait years to hear anything, if at all. In Luke’s case, he received a call three years after registering as a donor. He was informed he was a match and asked if he would still like to make a donation; after testing confirmed he could indeed help, Luke jumped at the opportunity.

He shared his experience with Mighty Mack‘s family in the hopes of inspiring others to become donors too. There are many myths about being a bone marrow donor so having a first-hand account really helps dispel some of those myths.

“When I was called to say that I had possibly matched with a patient on the worldwide registry, the process that followed was relatively quick, easy and painless. The patient in question needed the donation urgently so I was immediately sent for blood tests and a doctors visit to check my overall health.

Once the results came back confirming I was in good enough shape, a date for my donation was set. In the interim, I had to have another set of blood tests and a quick appointment with the doctor in charge.

They then issued me with injections which I had to administer myself twice a day. I thought this would be the most difficult part but at the back of my mind I kept thinking of the person needing my stem cells and how I could possibly be saving their life.

The day arrived and we went to the hospital at 7 am. I was linked up to the most amazing machine which took blood out my one arm, into the machine, spun it and separated the stem cells from the red blood cells and then sent the red blood cells back into the other arm. It was honestly like giving blood and no more difficult than that.

I was linked up to the machine till 4:30 that afternoon and had two nurses with me the entire day. I felt a little tired and slept on and off during the procedure but felt no pain at all.

I am so proud to have been asked to donate my stem cells.

I wish everyone knew what an easy process it is and how important it is that they have as many donor options as possible on the registries.”

Luke’s story shows how simple this act of giving can be. He hopes more people will sign up. Should you not be able to attend the HJW Attorney’s drive, you can register as a bone marrow donor using the details below.

You can sign up as a bone marrow donor at www.dkms-africa.org (formally known as The Sunflower Fund) or www.sabmr.co.za. The Bone Marrow Registry is international, so if you are overseas, you can still register and get tested. If you have already signed up through one of the services, you do not need to register with a new one. The donor system is centralised, so all details are available to each organisation.

You will be notified if you qualify to be a donor by working through their lists. To register, there is no blood or needles involved, just a cheek swab. Registering is free of charge.


Sources: Mighty Mack
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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