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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Can YOU Be The Match?

Scott Harris of New Jersey was the PERFECT Bone-Marrow match for my/our Ryan 18 years ago today! We are so GRATEFUL for Scott, who unselfishly donated 961 cc's of blood and marrow to give Ryan a new leash on LIFE! This cannot be understated!

For far too many years, I held many details of the whole kit and kaboodle of our family's cancer journey. When I published The Focused Fight last year, I not only freed my soul, but I can easily go back to the book to reread things I may have forgotten, though NOT November 3, 2004.

Here are a few excerpts from the book from that day:

Chapter 23 - The Transplant (at Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC)

"I believe it's not good to wish time away, but the family couldn't wait for November 3, 2004, Ryan's life-saving transplant. We offered a silent prayer that this whole thing would go down well (and what would that mean...well?). We were facing this with eyes wide open, knowing the dire circumstances Ryan faced in less than 24 hours. We were frightened about whether or not the donor planned on showing up at their hospital the next morning, which kept me awake most of the night thinking about it."

"By 7:30 p.m., 961cc's of A positive blood and bone marrow finally entered Ryan's room. We were all very excited about this life-saving Match Unrelated Donation for Ryan; this was his chance to get another stab at a healthy life."

Chapter 27 - Can YOU Be The Match?

"Becoming an organ or cornea donor by clicking a box at the local motor vehicle department on your driver's license is admirable. People who take that small step can save thousands of lives each year when the unthinkable accident or automobile crash happens. It's a little different at the NMDP, but equally admirable. Far better is to save someone else's life without losing yours."

"While Ryan was getting prepped for his transplant at Duke, Ryan's donor, Scott Harris, 36 at that time, was being prepped in the New York/New Jersey area. His donation began very early in the morning on November 3, 2004, at his local hospital."

"As for the donation itself on November 3, Scott said he was in his local hospital for four hours and was a little stiff and sore afterward, but not overly so. He also said, "When else can you save a life that's so easy—and a chance to do something big for someone else?" We couldn't agree more, Scott!"

It's been 18 years since that date, a lifetime, frankly, and when I look at the photo posted below, all time melts away. It brings me back to that chaotic time, though one filled with hope more than any other day leading to the transplant.

I can say with confidence on behalf of Bill, Olivia, and Ryan that we are indebted with gratitude to anyone and everyone who played a part in our lives, giving us relentless encouragement and kindness beyond any words that convey our awe.

And Scott Harris - a hero and a true champion by any standard as he willingly gave liquid gold — life-saving blood and marrow to a 10-year-old boy - a hero - in the battle of creating a new leash on his life.

A shout-out of THANKS to Scott Harris, Sarah Jack (Scott's wife), and their family! Scott certainly Manufactured Sunshine for Ryan and our family all those years ago, whereas today, the rays thankfully keep beaming!



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