Delia Ephron | How to Save a Life – The New York Times

Ms. Ephron is a writer and a bone-marrow transplant recipient.

“It’s not yet Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, and Eid al-Fitr is past. But three of those holidays are looming, waiting to cheer you, stress you out or otherwise consume your life. I have no idea what you want to give or receive next month, but I have a good suggestion, and it will cost nothing.

A little background: In 2018 I had a fatal disease, acute myeloid leukemia, or A.M.L., and the only thing that could save my life was a bone-marrow transplant. Leukemia is a blood cancer, a disease of the marrow. Your marrow produces your body’s blood supply.

I was given four months to live unless I had a transplant. A bone-marrow transplant, for the patient, is a grueling procedure that involves wiping the diseased marrow clean with powerful chemotherapy and transfusing stem cells from a healthy person who is genetically matched. But for the person who makes the donation, it is not difficult.

Bone marrow transplants, also known as blood stem cell transplants, help save the lives of about 8,000 people a year in the United States with blood cancers — from children only a few months old to adults in their 70s, according to Be the Match, the national registry of donors. I was 72, and I could not have a match from a relative because doctors were concerned that leukemia might run in my family. My sister Nora died of the very same disease in 2012, at 71. I needed a donor from the national registry.”

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