The Gift of Life

Casey, a long-time camper and staff member, learned about Gift of Life during a presentation at GUCI’s staff training week in 2011. Most of our 2011 staff registered with the Foundation, and Casey’s experience as a bone marrow donor is detailed below. GUCI is so proud of Casey’s mitzvah and all who engage in acts of Tikkun Olam!

Reprinted from the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation

When 21 year old Casey donated bone marrow to a 57 year old woman with chronic leukemia, Gift of Life’s Donor Services Director described her as a spirited young woman who showered every nurse, doctor and coordinator with hugs and expressions of gratitude. Selfless and inspiring are two adjectives that describe this heroic young lady.

Casey’s story with Gift of Life began in 2011 when she was a camp counselor. A student from Indiana University visited the camp to speak to the counselors about his experience as a Gift of Life donor and immediately captured Casey’s attention. “After hearing his story and how he was able to save a life, I knew this was something I wanted to be involved in,” she explained. Once the summer passed, Casey returned to school and her everyday life until one afternoon the following May, almost a year after she registered, she received the call that would forever change her life. Casey immediately agreed to donate, saying it was “unbelievable to think that out of all of my friends who registered alongside me at camp, I was the one who was given this rare opportunity.”

In July 2012, Casey flew to Boston to donate, accompanied by her mother. She explained that her family went into “research mode” when she was first called as a match, reading every book they could about bone marrow transplants and watching videos featuring donors and recipients. “I would absolutely recommend that others register,” Casey exclaimed. “Donating has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I don’t think there is anything more powerful than to be given the chance to save a life.” Serving as a bone marrow donor was not Casey’s first experience with cancer patients — grandparents and family friends who have battled cancer added momentum to her dedication to get involved with Gift of Life.

Wise beyond her years, Casey explains that “sometimes it’s easy to live your life on autopilot. As a junior at Indiana University, I was coasting through life, going to class, hanging out with friends, and overall just getting through each day.” She feels now, after her donation, that she has received a “sneak peek” into what life is about. Casey not only learned a valuable lesson during her donation, she also hopes to give others the opportunity to learn that same lesson. The eager college student hopes to run a drive on her campus in Indiana for every student, “I feel if given the opportunity to register, most students would be more than willing to join.” She hopes to open the registration process on her campus soon.
To run a drive in your area, contact info@giftoflife.org.

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