Swabbing For Suzy: Why I Became a Bone Marrow Donor
Dr. Diane explains how you could save someone's life by swabbing the inside of your cheek
I'm gonna get a little personal with this one.
And while I typically write about pediatric health issues on this page, I'm going to broaden things to include adult health too right now.
Did you know you could literally save someone's life by swabbing the inside of your cheek?
Last year, in search of a new way to exercise (and calm my overactive brain), I found a yoga studio in Fort Worth which I now lovingly call home for one hour, three days a week.
One of the main reasons I love the place so much is that their front staff is so warm, inviting, and cheerful (after a day full of loud toddlers in the office and two loud -angry- toddlers at home, this is what I NEED).
The woman in the picture with me is Suzanne. She has never failed to ask me how my day is going, what challenges I'm facing, and has given me so many resources to better myself. She's amazing and I'm proud to call her my friend.
Suzanne recently started telling me about some strange symptoms she was having. She was really tired all the time. She had new bruises everywhere. She got some weird bloodwork results back.
She was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). This means her bone marrow is failing her. Bone marrow is the goop in the middle of our large bones that makes our blood - our white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Our immune system. Our oxygen delivery system. Our wound-healers!
When your bone marrow decides to tucker out and stop making this stuff, the only thing that will work to "fix" things is a bone marrow transplant. It is a CURE!
She (and thousands of others across the world) are in search of a bone marrow match. The human body is very picky about what bone marrow/blood it will accept as a donor. Usually, a brother or sister can be a good match.
Her siblings, unfortunately, were not a match.
This is where you, me, almost anyone can HELP! I registered to become a bone marrow donor. It was easier than ordering a pizza (which I promptly did soon after).
You type in your name and address and they send you an envelope with swabs in it. You swab your cheeks (for cheek cells) and throw it in a pre-paid envelope and, voila! All done! POTENTIAL LIFE-SAVER STATUS COMPLETE!
I hope so badly that I am a match for sweet Suzanne, but if i'm not - I could help someone else! About 1 percent of people who register become donors. And being a donor usually means something as simple as a blood draw. Read about it! It's so easy!
I encourage each of you to consider doing this! You could save someone's life!
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.
Dr. Diane Arnaout joined the Cook Children's Willow Park practice in 2011. You can stay connected with Dr. Arnaout and the Willow Park practice on Facebook. Dr. Arnaout was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She attended college at Texas A&M University and medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. She did her pediatric internship and residency at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and M.D. Anderson at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX where she served as a leader on the medical education committees. She is a board-certified pediatrician. Click to learn more.
Certain diseases and treatments can deplete a child's healthy stem cells. Sometimes the body needs help to replenish those cells. When this happens, your child may require a very complex process called a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
Since 1986, Cook Children's Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant program has performed more than 1,000 transplants in children with cancer, blood disorders or inherited conditions. That's what makes this program one of the more diverse and experienced pediatric transplant programs in the Southwest.
Cook Children's is a member of:
- The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR)
- Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC)
- The Children's Oncology Group (COG) stem cell transplant section.
- We are accredited through the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT)