Dennis' Donation Story

Dennis' Donation Story

Introducing Dennis

I met Dennis within the past year as he began dating (and is now engaged to) one of my childhood friends. Dennis is absolutely one of the nicest guys you will meet anywhere. It’s only appropriate that he met his fiancee when they were both stationed in Africa during their two years of Peace Corps service.

Before Cheekswab even launched in January 2011 I had spent some time discussing my intentions for creating this site with some close friends. Luckily Dennis’ fiancee Melissa was one of them. After several months I received a seemingly harmless message from Melissa while we were wrapping up an online conversation – “Oh, by the way, Dennis got a call to donate bone marrow.” It wasn’t even the main subject of our conversation at the time but more a random throw-in. Needless to say I called her immediately, asking for Dennis’ contact information so I could talk to him about the process.

One of the greatest shortcomings of this site is the fact that I have never personally experienced a bone marrow donation. While I did have similar, smaller-scale procedures performed during my treatment, it was never a full on marrow extraction. When I answer questions about what the procedure is like my answers are unavoidably second-hand. I can completely understand how people would want to know more intimate details about the process from someone who has experienced it themselves.

Dennis’ Story

Please remember that due to the circumstances of the patient, Dennis was asked to complete a hip extraction marrow donation. This procedure is used in roughly 24% of donation cases only.

The more common process (76%) is the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical. Learn more here.

This section of the site is composed of both blog posts and video posts from Dennis throughout the course of his marrow donation procedure. It’s important to remember that the content here is not intended to perfectly represent what you can expect if you are called for a marrow donation. It is, however, an unedited and unfiltered look into Dennis’ experience and thoughts.

This section exists solely because of Dennis’ willingness to share his marrow donation experience with me. Aside from the generosity he showed in taking the time out of his schedule to go through the medical procedure, he had to deal with my requests for blog posts and video interviews.

When Dennis asked me what to write, I gave him a single suggestion: “what’s on your mind.” Again, the goal of this site is not to sugar coat or misrepresent anything about bone marrow donation because ultimately that will do nothing but undermine the cause. I believe the severity of the need, the simplicity of the process and the unique opportunity to save someone’s life speak for themselves.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take Dennis’.