Beating the Odds Starts with a Swab
In February, 2013 Marina Sampanes Peed learned that the chronic Polycythemia Vera she lived with for the last six years transformed to an aggressive Myelofibrosis. Her bone marrow wore out and she needed a Hematapoietic (blood) stem cell transplant to survive.
None of her four siblings were a match for her, so her future was placed in the hands of people who are registered as Bone Marrow Donors around the world.
To boost her chances of finding a donor match, family and friends organized “swab drives” to increase awareness and get more people to join the registry.
Her teenage kids, Katrina and Alexander, say their mom has kept her goofy sense of humor and shows them the power of a positive attitude. They want her around for a long time and know that more people in the registry increased her chances.
So far, Marina’s Heroes have registered almost 2,000 people through DKMS Delete Blood Cancer and Be the Match drives across the United States. We know at least 18 matches were made and 6 of these wonderful heroes donated their cells to save lives!
Marina’s life-saver was a 22 year old male from Europe. He generously donated his blood stem cells and they were transfused into her on July 26, 2013. They exchanged letters during (without any identifying information) and two years after her transplant, they were able to contact one another. They are now “Facebook friends” and look forward to meeting in person one day.