How I Saved a Life

The Gratitude Levels were overflowing over the past couple of days. As you may know, on December 2, 2010, I donated my bone marrow to someone who needed to have a bone marrow transplant. Today’s post is going to be about gratitude of many people involved.

A few facts about the process – I was selected because I was registered at the HLA Registry. I signed up to be on the Bone Marrow registry about 10 years ago when I was donating platelets. About 6 weeks ago, I received a call indicating that I was a potential match and additional testing was required to see if I am a true match.

For the first step, I had some blood drawn for the additional blood typing. I went to a local lab here in town and a few days later I was told that I was a match! After all the testing, my blood cells would be accepted by the recipient! i still could back out and make the decision not to donate; I was asked if I wanted to proceed with the process. Without hesitation, I said, Yes!

The next step was to get a complete physical and to speak with a physician about the procedure. I had a choice to have the “harvest” performed in New York City or in Philadelphia. I selected Philly as long as the scheduling and logistics were just as as it was in NYC. As it turns out, I was able to get the appointments lined up easier in  Pennsylvania so Philly it is!

The recipient of my bone marrow is top-secret! I do not know him – all I know is that he is a 57 year old male that has aplastic anemia. This is a condition where the bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. The condition, per its name, involves both aplasia and anemia. Typically, anemia refers to low red blood cell counts, but aplastic anemia patients have lower counts of all three blood cell types: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

The HLA registry treated me like royalty! They provided me with a limo to take me down and back to the Hahnemann University Hospital. All I had to so was get in the car. No worries about traffic for me!

Once at the hospital, I had more blood work drawn, an EKG, and I discussed the process with one of the physicians from the practice that will be doing the harvesting. We talked about the procedure, the prep I needed to do prior to coming in, and what to expect after the procedure.

One thing I noticed throughout the entire day was the people I came into contact. EVERYONE was really nice and really friendly. They all took the time that was needed and each one expressed their gratitude to me for volunteering to go through the donation process.


Sometimes doctors seem to rush through an appointment in order to get to another one. It certainly did not feel that way while I was there. Was it because I was donating my bone marrow? Was it the way they always acted at the hospital? I do not know. I prefer to go with the later!

See Part II of the procedure in the next post!

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. Paulette Trusewicz on December 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Dear Paul,
    My admiration for you is overflowing! It’s difficult to put into words the emotions I am feeling towards you. We are all grateful for your compassion. You are the change you wished to see in the world!

    Mr. 57,
    All the best!

    • Paul on December 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks! All the change we want to see should start with each of us. I just stepped up to the plate and followed through. The real ‘magic’ was that I was matched as a donor. For that – I am grateful!

      Again, Thanks!

  2. Ann on December 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    You should be proud of yourself for going all you went through to help a stranger. I wish that man that you donated to all the best of health, and you, too. I really needed to hear your story today, because I’m going through a rough period, but nothing life threatening, so I’d better be grateful.

    • Paul on December 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks Ann! I need to work on that – I don’t feel proud that I donated. I feel that It is something that I wanted to do and simply did it. You are right. It is a big deal and I need to feel the goodness that I deserve. I am certainly grateful that I was a match and that I was able to make a difference. But feeling proud does not pop to the front of the list of feelings that I am feeling. Thank you for pointing that out. Let me state it now – “I am PROUD to be a bone marrow donor!”

      As a minor semantic change in your last statement – you stated, “so I’d better be grateful’. Without knowing all the details, I would say that you are “better off being grateful.” There is no rules here. You “better be” something is not required. Do you see the difference. The way you stated it makes it sound very forceful or commanding. WHen you state it that way, an almost
      adversarial feeling is sent out to the universe. If you say that you are “better off” demonstrates that you have a choice and that you are in charge of the decision you make.

      I hope this makes some sense.

      Be Well.

  3. Paulette Trusewicz on December 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm


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