Robin Roberts is one of my personal heroes. Largely for her fortitude in battling cancer, because I have a personal, familial connection to the Big C. But also because, she’s just a nice lady. I’m not saying that because she seems nice on TV, but because I’ve experienced it. She, along with Chris Cuomo (who I still cannot believe has not married me, but whatever) once left a voicemail for me on the Uptown Hound line (way back!) thanking me for the work I was doing to provide care for dogs in need in Harlem, because the production assistant, my client, asked them to. I mean, down-to-earth doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Anyway, as I do, I’ve digressed. I was talking about Robin Roberts. And, I was talking about Robin Roberts because she’s in Atlanta right now doing an event to promote registrations for BeTheMatch. If you don’t know, you should, and if you do know and haven’t registered, you must. Especially if you, like me, are an African-American, or any other non-Caucasian person.
It’s so hard to find a match, and even harder for non-majority populations. I registered in May of ’07, and was called to donate only 8 months later — the situation was dire. Let’s make sure it keeps getting better.
And, you should know that, the stories people tell about how hard it is to donate, and it hurts and whatever? Well, some of them are true, but really, there are ways to donate that are completely manageable, and the folks at BeTheMatch are there to help you all along the way. I did PBSC donation, which doesn’t entail anything more invasive than a needle full of marrow production-inducing meds called filgrastim for five days (They come to your house! No need to travel! My nurse was a delight, even at 6am!), and a half day in a hospital (where they usually have cable TV, which was reason enough for me!) where they put a needle in one arm (easy, friend!) that takes out the blood-forming cells and a needle in the other arm that puts all the rest of the blood back in. Plus, they will give you as many cookies and graham crackers and as much grape juice as you want.
It sounds like I’m being silly about it, but really, my donation was a defining moment in my life. I mean, I was on the one hand, being about the business of saving someone — I mean, seriously, I had, in me, something that could save someone’s life. And, at the same time, and on the other hand, I was being feted like a hero and treated as kindly as I’ve ever been treated by strangers in my life. For no reason other than through some randomness in the universe, there was this guy who needed this stuff I had ALREADY INSIDE ME!
That is all to start the weekend, I think. Happy Friday Proper! Little Friday Eve and Little Friday weren’t so good this week (for me, at least), so I hope today brings you and me to the start of something greater!