I signed up for Be The Match three years before I was recognized as a potential match for someone in need. All that was asked of me at the time was a simple cheek swab from the comfort of my own home, and I sent it off in the mail. After three years, I got an email from the service saying that I was a bone marrow match for a 77-year old man in need of a donation. They did not pressure me to commit to donating, they told me I could always opt out if I decided I didn’t want to follow through with the process.

Be The Match made the entire donation process from there, easier than I thought it ever would be. All I was asked to do was answer a few questionnaires and go to a couple of doctors’ appointments to ensure that I was a match. Before I knew it, the service had made reservations for a flight and three nights at a hotel in Denver. They allowed me to bring a companion with me, and I asked my friend Austin who was kind enough to accompany me on the trip. The price of absolutely everything on our trip was covered in full by Be The Match, even our meals out in downtown Denver!

The donation procedure was a surprisingly smooth and easy process. I was in the donation center for just under 6 hours, as my friend and I sat and watched a couple movies. No invasive procedures, no painful processes. My experience was one IV in each arm while I sat in a comfortable chair watching movies with my friend. After the donation was complete, my only symptoms were a small headache and minor fatigue. For the next day and a half, my friend and I got to explore Denver and enjoy ourselves.

The entire donation process from start to finish was incredibly easy and left me with no long-lasting effects. Coming from a family who has battled cancer, I have seen what a difference even the smallest gesture can make, and how impactful a life-saving bone marrow donation can be. I strongly encourage everyone who is able to sign up for the bone marrow registry to do so, I would be more than happy to discuss my experience with anyone who is interested. You can save the life of someone in need and create a lasting impact in the lives of a family and community who are refusing to give up their fight

 - Michael Nelson