David's spur of the moment decision saved a life
David describes the decision to swab his cheek in May 2011 as “spur of the moment.” In truth, he did not give it much thought until a few years later, when he learned that he was a potential match for a 69-year-old man battling myelodysplastic syndrome.
“I have watched my sister and father die of cancer, my mother fight cancer (and win), and my other sister take medications for pre-cancerous issues,” said David. “I also watched my closest friend spend months at Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MA, dwindling down to 90 pounds when we were in our early twenties. The key word is ‘watch.’ I could help them with practical matters, but I could only watch their struggle. I could never help them get better. This was an opportunity to have a positive impact in a direct manner and provide what I have found to be one of the most important things for patients and families in these circumstances – hope.”
David didn’t think twice before agreeing to proceed with the donation process. “Imagine you are that patient and your family is that patient’s family,” said David. “Now, imagine someone telling them that there is a match, but that person has decided they don’t want to donate. The fact is that what you are giving is some of your time, and in return, the patient and family get life. It’s the best trade-off in the world.”
The collection of David’s peripheral blood stem cells was scheduled for June 2015, a particularly busy time of year for his work in software sales, and close to his 10-year-old daughter’s birthday. Luckily, he had the support of his boss, who filled in for him during his appointments. His wife Cathy, who understood the importance of the donation, said, “No matter what, we will make it happen.” David also credits everyone he worked with at Gift of Life, noting, “I felt well cared for, and more importantly, they laughed at my jokes!”
Looking back on his recent donation, David wonders about the man he donated to. “I know he is a 69-year–old man, coincidentally the same age as my dad when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer,” said David. “All I want to know is how he is doing. I am not a religious person, so to say that I pray for him would be inaccurate. I do, however, fervently hope that he and his family are doing well.”
David lives in Amherst, NH, with his wife Cathy and daughter Lizzy. He works in software sales and enjoys running and playing golf. He was thrilled when Cathy presented him with a custom designed t-shirt reading “STEM CELL DONOR. BECAUSE BADASS LIFESAVER IS NOT A REAL TITLE!”