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OT Student holding blood donation bag


This past fall I had the incredible opportunity to help save a life. I was identified by Be The Match as the best match for a stem cell transplant that would help a woman battling cancer. I had joined the registry back in 2019 after learning more about the donation process at a college club meeting. Deciding to join the registry felt like an easy decision to me. Most donations are now non-surgical, using apheresis to extract peripheral blood stem cells. All you need to do to join the registry is a simple cheek swab. It is a small chance of ever being called to donate, but a simple swab could be somebody else’s chance for treatment.

Dolan in the hospital.

From the moment I was identified, I felt confident in my decision to donate. Be The Match walked me through the entire process and connected me to a donation coordinator who worked with my schedule to organize all donation related appointments. I was sent to Virginia for my donation and Be the Match covered the expenses for me and my support person. Any pain I had associated with the donation was very minimal and resolved quickly following the donation. The entire process felt so powerful and it is something I would do again in a heartbeat. I am so grateful for the support of my parents, family, friends, donation coordinator, doctors, nurses and the Pitt OT faculty who worked with me to make the donation possible. It is an indescribable feeling to be connected to and a part of somebody that I don’t even know. I think of my match often and wish her all the best.

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