Why We Write: To Share Our Passion

Filed in From the Desk of... by on February 26, 2015 2 Comments

At a recent editorial meeting, each of us editors threw around ideas, possibilities, and topics for the Xulon Press Blog. While the other editors had their own ideas, I had a blog topic in mind that I didn’t think exactly answered the question at hand: why do we write? However, once I explained what I wanted to do on the blog, our editorial manager responded with, “we write in order to share our passions.” Then I realized — what I had just shared was exactly that: my passion.

Prior to the end of 2014, I registered for my second Be the Match Walk and Run race in Tampa, Florida. I made my own personal donation page and shared my personal story and connection to Be the Match. Then, during a conversation with Xulon’s marketing manager, I was told that my story and connection would make a great blog post. So, there was my idea: post about my connection to Be the Match before my race to raise awareness for this cause.

I am frequently asked what Be the Match is, most often when I’m wearing one of my t-shirts, which is pretty often. “Be the Match” is the name of the National Marrow Donor Program, which has become a real passion and love so deeply rooted within my heart.

It all started in the summer of 2013 when my family got the devastating news that our close friend of more than a decade (a long time for a military family like mine) had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. The disease was so aggressive and terrible that he was given a zero percent chance of survival — unless he had a bone marrow transplant.

For those of you who don’t know the logistics of bone marrow transplants–it’s a complicated matching procedure that is based mostly on your heredity and DNA. Typically, for someone in need of a transplant, the most “likely” donor is a full sibling since full siblings share the same DNA/heredity. If the patient doesn’t have any full siblings, or perhaps their siblings aren’t a match for them (or their siblings can’t donate, for instance), that’s when they scan the Be the Match registry and compare the mapped DNA in hopes to get a match for a transplant. The problem with our friend was that he did not have any full siblings, only half siblings. From a medical standpoint, you or I have the same chance of matching to him than one of his half siblings, so it all came down the registry for him to receive a transplant.

I can’t describe what happened to me when I found out he needed a donor, other than it were as if God was standing behind me and pushing on my back with two hands forcefully. “Join the registry, Taylor. Go. Do it. Now,” I heard. It took me about twelve hours to say, “Yes, I am going on the National Bone Marrow Donor registry in hopes to be a match for our friend, but also, to potentially match a complete stranger who may need it just as much as he does.”

The way I see it is this–what is a few hours, ultimately, of a little physical “pain” on my part to save a family from a lifetime of emotional pain because they lost their loved one who couldn’t find a donor? It’s nothing. And yes, it is a common misconception that donating bone marrow is painful. Sure, it’s a medical procedure using a hair-thin needle that will cause some pain (similar to donating blood), but physical pain will eventually heal. Your body will replenish the donated marrow within six weeks. So what’s it to me? Nothing. But what’s amazing about it is that through my willingness, I get to save a life in the process.

So, I joined the registry, swabbed the inside of my cheeks with a q-tip mailed to me in a kit by Be the Match, and off it all went to the lab to be mapped and placed on the registry within six weeks. While I wasn’t a match for our friend, as badly as I wanted to be, luckily a 30-year-old male somewhere in the United States (who had just joined the registry) was a match for him and was able to donate his stem cells to save our friend’s life and put him in remission… for a few months.

Then the leukemia came back more aggressively than it had been before. We prayed and asked God why this would happen to him, we had all believed and had faith that he was going to be fine, he had a successful transplant, and then — the Lord called him home.

One of the last things I said to him during our final conversation was how it is truly my absolute pleasure to be a part of Be the Match and to share my story–his story–with others, all because my prayer is that the registry will grow even bigger with potential donors. I cannot think of a better cause, a better passion, or an organization whose mission I am truly honored to be a part of for the rest of my life.

This is why I write: to share my passion, to share my love for bone marrow donation, and to inform people of the need that exists for leukemia patients just like my dear friend.

Be the Match and be the one to save a life. All you have to do is be willing.

For more information on Be the Match, please visit bethematch.org.

To view my personal race page for my upcoming March 14 race and to make a donation, please visit http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/taylorandryangraham.

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About the Author ()

Taylor Graham comes to Xulon’s editorial team with over five years of experience writing, editing, and proofreading. Prior to joining Xulon, she worked as a freelance writer and editor, a copywriter for NBC Universal, and an advertising rater for Google. She is most passionate about the written word, the great state of California, and the Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program.

Comments (2)

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  1. avatar Charlotte French says:

    Loved this Taylor. Sent it to special friends. So proud of you! Love your passion for this and many other meaningful things.

  2. avatar Sabine Khouri says:

    Wonderful job, Taylor! It’s great that you’re passionate about something that can save people’s lives. I pray that we can all spread the word about bethematch.com with the helpful information from this post.

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