Thirty-five-year-old Troy McKinely had a birthday wish to make a difference in someone else’s life.
“I wanted to do something big, if possible,” he said. So two years ago, he decided to make his birthday about more than gifts. He decided to give the gift of life. I thought it would be great to save a life, so what can I do to help,” he said.
His search turned up DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow, and blood stem cell donor center. He requested a swab kit from them, and he waited to see if he would be a match. It took two and a half years, but he was eventually notified that his stem cells matched a patient diagnosed with blood cancer. “It was kind of like ‘wow, this is big. I don’t know this person. I don’t know anything about him or her.’ It’s an amazing feeling that it could be better for somebody else,” he said.
McKinley said it took a few hours to give the needed stem cells that doctors would later implant in the unknown patient. “I’m hoping that this gentleman I helped is feeling better and that it helped him in some way. Maybe it didn’t give him everything back, but he has some more time, and we all want more time in the world, so hopefully, it helped him,” he said.
Time is something we can all use more of. How many of us take the time to think about how we can give others more days on this earth?
It was a birthday wish McKinley says he’d do again, knowing his kindness gave a stranger something more valuable than anything. “I think it’s amazing to save someone’s life. It’s an incredible experience,” he said.
Information About DKMS You May Want To Know
- Globally, DKMS is the largest donor center and the leaders in the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.
- 70% of people suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers must rely on donors outside their families.
- Every 3 minutes, an American is diagnosed with some type of blood cancer.
- Through their donations, 21 DKMS donors give patients a second chance at life every day.
- Every 9 minutes, one American patient is lost to blood cancer.
- The incredible uniqueness of our DNA means finding a matching donor is extremely rare; finding a match is a numbers game, so we must register as many donors as possible.
- Registering as a donor is quick and easy – it simply requires swabbing the inside of your cheeks for 60 seconds each.
- If you want to register to be a potential lifesaver, you can request a swab kit online through DKMS at dkms.org.
- To fight against blood cancer, DKMS needs everyone’s involvement, regardless of gender, age, and heritage.
- Those of mixed or diverse heritage are underrepresented on the registry, and heritage is one factor proven to determine the odds of finding a match to an unrelated donor. DKMS continues to focus on engaging, educating, and empowering these communities through targeted campaigns, events, and partnerships.
- Blood cancer patients all over the world continue to need our help urgently. For many of these people, a blood stem cell or bone marrow donation from a matching donor is their only chance of survival. DKMS encourages everyone to register now as a potential blood stem cell or bone marrow donor and to provide hope for patients worldwide.
- To protect the population, DKMS has postponed all planned in-person drives and events to register new blood stem cell and bone marrow donors, and the organization has created an online registration action. Through this virtual registration, the public can order a registration kit through DKMS.org that will be sent directly to their home; individuals can easily perform the cheek swab themselves and mail the kit back to DKMS. So folks can register as potential life-saving donors without leaving their homes.