There are few things in life that should be more obvious than the relationship between a stem cell donor and their recipient. And, yet, I’m sure there are those who believe there is no relationship. That having your stem cells harvested and then shared with another human being is transactional at best.
“I’ve got what you need. You need what I’ve got. Let’s get it done!”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans are complicated. Complicated and curious. And because we are, even the most seemingly impersonal acts can become so much more. I know this to be true because I’ve lived it. The stem cells donated by an “eighteen-year-old Israeli male” to a stranger half a world away saved my life.
Curiosity fueled my need to know more than just the age, gender, and nationality of my donor. More than we managed a 14-point HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) match. My donor was consumed by the same curiosity throughout the mandatory one-year period our mutual anonymity was protected. That curiosity was satisfied a little more than a year ago when we finally made contact and I discovered that my donor had a name.
That was the beginning of a continually expanding relationship that culminated in our first in-person meeting this past weekend. The first of many meetings we hope will find their way into our strangely interlocked future despite the great distance that separates us.
It is hard to find the right words to describe what transpired. His introduction to our family and the realization that his decision to donate touched an ever expanding spiral of life.
It’s been said that if you save one person you save the world. If that’s true, the good the individual who is saved brings into the world can also be attributed to the individual responsible for saving him. Gadi saved me and saving me will have a profound impact that will resonate throughout our family for generations. For, you see, without him, there would have been an empty seat at the table.
Without him there is no me.donorrelationshipstem cell/bone marrow transplant