[Blogmeister’s Note: Our colleague, collaborator, frequent CommLawBlog contributor and, most importantly, friend, Mitchell Lazarus, has asked us to post the following item. It doesn’t address any of the subjects we usually cover here, but so what? It being all too easy for us to lose sight of our capacity to help one another, we think it’s right to pass along to our readers a reminder of the importance of lending a hand.]
I am writing from a hospital room, hooked up to a machine that delivers multiple chemo drugs into my veins. The dosage is high enough to kill my leukemia cells before they kill me. The problem is, that level of chemo also stops the “stem cells” in my bone marrow from supplying me with fresh blood cells. My blood counts will soon drop to near zero. This puts me into a non-survivable situation.
But I still expect to walk out of here in a few weeks. What will save me is an infusion of stem cells from an anonymous donor, somebody in a database who is a fortuitous ten-for-ten match with my cell type. This person has taken time out of his (or her) life to undergo repeated testing and get injected with medication to step up the production of his stem cells. By now my donor has spent a few hours hooked up to a machine that extracts the surplus stem cells, which will soon be couriered to my bedside – all to save the life of a person whose name he is not allowed to know.
I fervently wish I could tell my donor how much his contribution means to me. It is not likely he reads CommLawBlog. But other donors probably do, and their patients are as deeply thankful to their donors as I am to mine. Here in the hospital, patients talking about their donors almost always tear up in gratitude.
I am lucky; not every patient who needs a matching donor has one. Possibly you could be the donor who saves the life of a total stranger, with no compensation except the inconvenience. Start at this website. There can be no greater gift one human can give to another. To my own donor, whoever and wherever he is: I’ll never be able to pay you back, but I sure wish I could try.