Friday, October 7, 2011

Be the Match


Extreme Makeover Home Edition is ALWAYS a tear jerker.  This week's episode hit so close to home.  It featured a family where the sweet 7-year old boy Jonah has two life threatening and debilitating blood disorders.

I sat in awe of what this family endures and goes through and thanked God for the miraculous works in our journey. This little boy and his family are amazing and continue to hold out hope that a donor match will be found for him in order to save his life.  Thank you Lord for Jalen.  Thank you for our son whose own journey into this world was preceded by a number of miscarriages, but 'his' life was preserved so he could give life to his sister.  During the segment they were able to find family members his mother did not know about and those she had lost contact with to also test, but he has no immediate family member match.

Jonah is a handsome, vibrant little boy that LOVES soccer.  Take Mireya's love for princesses to the 10th power and that is his love and obsession with soccer.  Because of his condition he is required to be on oxygen pretty much 24/7 and that prohibits him to live and breath soccer in the outside world.  You know Ty hooked him up with his very own indoor basement soccer field that came equipped with a full on and fun oxygen bar.  Just too cool for words, but the reality is that without a donor match for him, his life remains in jeopardy.  One of the most beautiful things I witnessed on this show outside of the house, because we know Ty and his team are great at what they do, was the coming together of community and organization.

Jonah's is wild about his hometown soccer team.  The team started an initiative that went to soccer stadiums across the world to find a match for him.  I cried at the sheer number of people that completed the testing to see if they are the match.  Unfortunately, they did not find a match for him, but they were able to find matches for five other people waiting for bone marrow transplants.  Amazing!

I'm so proud of Paris who has been volunteering at 'Be the Match' events on her campus spreading the word, sharing her sisters story and encouraging fellow students to get tested.  When I was about 15 years old there was a little boy at my church suffering from a life threatening illness that needed a bone marrow transplant.  Our church coordinated a drive to find a donor for Little Ron.  There were people lined up all around the building for testing.  It was incredible.  I remember thinking oh my goodness I can't do that.  I hated needles and all I could see was them injecting a huge needle into my body to test my bone marrow.  It was truly a scary prospect, but to find out that a simple swab of your cheek could position you to save someone's life is truly something we all can do.  It is my hope and desire to coordinate a drive with or through 'Be the Match' in the future.  Finding a match in my own household saved my daughter's life and I want to help those in the same situation have more donors available.  In the meantime, I encourage you to visit and join the registry or see how you can become involved with this organization and potentially save Jonah's life or the life of someone else in need of a bone marrow transplant.

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