When an 18-year-old Ohio nursing student found out she was a match for a sick boy during her first college finals, she was thrilled to be given the chance to help save his life.
Mads Pomranky, who is now two years old, was diagnosed with leukemia at just five years old, and was in need of a stem cell transplant in order to survive.
Although they were strangers at the time, Kaelynn Speed selflessly underwent the procedure to donate her stem cells. The transplant was a success, and today, Mads’ parents describe Mads as a rambunctious toddler.
Mads’ parents, Jennifer and Derrick Pomranky, recently met Speed, and are forever grateful for her saving their son’s life.
Olivia Haddox, a donor recruitment coordinator for DKMS, explained how easy it is to become a donor like Speed, and what a stem cell donation involves.
If you are between 18 and 55 years old and in good health, then you may be able to register as a blood stem cell donor.
To register as a donor, all you have to do is swab your cheeks with a q-tip that comes in a swab kit, to collect a cheek cell sample, which will then be tested and added to the national donor pool. Doctors can then search the pool to find a matching donor for their patient.
According to DKMS, there are two types of donations when it comes to stem cells. The first is called a peripheral stem cell donation. In about 80 percent of cases, the stem cells are taken from the bloodstream during a painless special procedure that takes 4-8 hours, with no surgery necessary.
The second is a bone marrow donation, where bone marrow is taken from the donor under general anesthesia using a special syringe. Two small incisions in the area of the rear pelvic bone are usually sufficient, which heal quickly. The removal takes about an hour, and the donor’s bone marrow regenerates within two to four weeks.
If you’re interested in becoming a donor, please visit DKMS to register.
Hear more of Mads’ story in the video below:Whizzco