We have had a GREAT winter and spring thus far, supporting clients all over the globe, shooting in some pretty incredible locations… but business and life have been busier than ever. As I look back on all the achievements, opportunities and folks we’ve worked with… I realize that this is the very first year in the past four years that I wasn’t absolutely consumed with thoughts of my sister’s cancer, her bone marrow transplant and the messy logistics that goes along with all of that.
My sister’s improved health has been the result of tenacious determination, an indefatigable spirit, a talented team of caregivers… and most importantly, the selfless, incredible gift from her anonymous bone marrow donor.
Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to actually meet my sister’s bone marrow donor. Her donor’s name is Tammy, she’s about my sister’s age, and we had dinner together along with her fabulous husband Chris just before I flew out for another photo shoot. Meeting Tammy and Chris was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I was giddy with excitement, bubbling over with emotion (READ: tears)… and challenged to fully express my sense of gratitude for her sacrifice, and for the lifetime of pain she had spared Lea and everyone in our family. As much as I wanted to know all about her and Chris, she wanted to know all about Lea and the process from the patient’s side. We talked for hours sharing our experiences.
With The Heroes: Chris and Tammy on the left (and me)
I spent most of the night thanking them both for their efforts, for their selfless gifts, and for THEIR determination to see this process through. Tammy and Chris had a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to help someone that they didn’t even know… and they took it.
Some call it Providence, some call it karma… others call it dumb luck. Whatever it was, we were very fortunate to find a donor at all… never mind someone like Tammy who was a perfect match, and who was so willing to give so much.
As we left the restaurant that night, I told (yelled at) every person we saw that “This woman saved my sister’s life.” I know it embarrassed Tammy, but it is the absolute truth… and it’s something not only to celebrate, but also aspire to. What if we ALL stepped up to the plate for someone we didn’t know? What if we were all willing to give of ourselves so that someone else may live? If you had the opportunity, would you?
VIDEO: How to register / get tested
Getting tested for bone marrow is easy… it literally just involves swabbing your cheek with a Q-Tip and it’s FREE (optional donation to cover costs accepted but not required). Here’s how to sign up:
You might never be a match, but if you are… wow, you’re in the position to save someone’s life!! You’re not donating a kidney or a lung now… so get that whole gory, life altering concept out of your head right off the bat. The act of bone marrow donation can take on one of two different forms, but 70% of all donations are taken in a procedure very similar to the simple act of donating blood. The cold hard truth though is that every year 35,000 people need a donor and only 3800 will find one. Bottom line: we need more people involved and you could be that one!
A great video that explains what the actual donation process is here:
Our lives are forever changed by Tammy’s gift. Her generosity has inspired so many… and I hope it inspires YOU and those around you. Thank you Tammy!!!
If you would like to thank Tammy for her donation in the comments section below, have at it!
If she inspires you to register, or get friends/family registered let us know… and by all means pass this blog post on!