“Transplant day, it was mixed emotions, I was very tired very weak, but I was elated to see that bone marrow come in my room. The first thing I noticed was that my eyes were white. I had never seen my eyes white ever.”
Spencer received a bone marrow transplant to treat sickle cell disease a couple of years ago and shared his story with us.
“I started seeing symptoms when I was 2,3 years old, and it just got progressively worse throughout the years. I was always having to put things on hold and never sure when I would end up in the hospital next – those hospital stays were pretty long and strenuous, both on the body and mind.”
When Spencer’s hematologist mentioned a bone marrow transplant – he was pessimistic about his chance of finding a match. But the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® found a match for Spencer.
“My donor changed my life in ways she’ll never know,” he says. “Through her gift, a weight has been lifted off my parents’ shoulders. My son will have his father around for longer. Transplant has given me life, and I’m forever grateful.”
“Since transplant, I still face some challenges, but I’m able to live life without worrying about a pain crisis. I’m able to spend time with my son, I’m able to take him to tennis lessons and swim practice without having crisis interrupt that time. It’s a beautiful thing and something that I had to get used to.”
Despite the positive changes in his life, Spencer reflects on the reality that many people are still searching for their match. He wants every sickle cell disease patient to have the opportunity for transplant. He wants to be an advocate for others—a guiding light for sickle cell warriors.
Be the Match can provide sickle cell warriors and caregivers support in pursuing transplant and other treatment options. Our Sickle Cell Warrior Program works to improve access to treatment options by connecting warriors to free resources such as education, counseling, clinical trials, peer connect and financial assistance.
Resources can be accessed through sicklecellconnect.com or contact Be the Match at:
Phone: 1 (888)999-6743
Email: [email protected]