“We would have said goodbye to his warmth, his giggle, his smell, his skin”
The donation process is anonymous. For the first two years after a transplant, the patient and their family can write anonymous letters that we’ll share with the donor on their behalf.
Here’s a letter that one grateful mother gave us permission to share:
Dear our unknown donor (known in our home as Our Hero),
We have composed this letter at least 1000 times since we learned that you were out there. But how to truly convey your gratitude for what you have done, for the gifts that you have given to us? It seems impossible. Words are so inadequate. But until the day we can meet you, which we hope will be face-to-face in less than a year, this paper, with these inadequate words will have to do to fill the silence.
We have thought so many times about what it was like when you got the call, to be told you were a match. We imagine it was incredible, perhaps a little scary. We have wondered if you knew that you were the only match in the whole world – in the entire bone marrow registry our son had only one match- you. But truly, you were not just a match for our son, you were a match for a sister, a brother, a son, a nephew, a grandson, a cousin, classmates and a whole community. Your gift saved the life of a little boy, but so much more, you saved the hearts of so many people who love that little boy.
And you did save his life, as surely as if you had scooped him up off of train tracks in the shadow of a speeding train. Our son was not going to live, he was not going to grow up, he was not going to be here with us. We, as his parents, would have done the unfathomable, we would have said good-bye to his warmth, his giggle, his smell, his skin, his amazing wit, his potential…without your gift we would have buried our son.
But you did scoop him off those train tracks, in the shadow of a speeding disease, and so his dying is only a “what if” that we try to avoid as we appreciate each new day.
Our beautiful little boy is here, happy, healthy, a little brother, a cousin, a nephew, a friend, laughing, dancing, being silly- being alive. And we are forever indebted to you. As we tuck him into bed, his "I love you" is now the second sweetest phrase ever, only second to the magical words of "we found a match!" - words you made possible.
Our doctor told us when your bone marrow arrived at the hospital that you were a special donor, a very committed donor, because you followed through so quickly and you gave so much marrow. But we knew you were a special donor from the moment we knew you were out there- you were our donor, you were our match, you said yes to saving our son- you are Our Hero.
Until we meet in person, with more love and gratitude than can ever be expressed-
The parents of the little boy you saved.
Donate today to help recruit more donors to our register. With more donors, we save more lives and more letters like this get sent. It really is that simple.