I was first introduced to the bone marrow program at Gurdwara on a Sunday in the summer of 2014. Due to my college studies in Biology and Chemistry, I was aware of what bone marrow transplants were but I never imagined I would be part of the process. A woman from our community was in need of a donor so my brother and I decided to join the registry.  Little did we know at the time how rare it is to find a match. After we left Gurdwara that day, I didn’t think twice about the registry, therefore when I was contacted in December of 2014 I was shocked to find out I was a potential match with someone. I was asked if I was still interested in continuing the process. I discussed it with my parents that night to see if this was the right choice for us all. After talking it out I realized, although I never thought I would be part of this process, no one thinks they will be. I had not given this much thought after I initially signed up, while someone out there was probably praying and thinking about this registry every minute of everyday. The choice was clear; I had to continue along and see if I could help.  

After additional tests I not only found out that I was a match for a 30-year-old male that had severe aplastic anemia in England, but I am actually a match to my brother (so maybe I should have been a little nicer to him growing up). In March of 2015 I began the process of preparing my body for a donation. It was rougher than I had expected. I do not generally get sick therefore when I had the injections they caught me a little off guard, but it was still bearable when I realized how much more difficult this entire process is on the person that is waiting for my bone marrow. He not only was going through chronic pain everyday, but also had to worry about if at any step of the way in this process I would change my mind. I wasn’t going to let him down.  

I had heard that bone marrow donations could be one of the most painful processes, but knowing that I could be saving a life made it no task at all.  The day of the donation was intimidating but through God’s grace there were no issues.  I anxiously waited to hear how the procedure went for the recipient. I had never felt so much of a connection with someone I never even met before. It felt like an eternity before I heard any information back about him and the procedure, but after six long months I finally got news that it went smoothly and he was doing well!  This is the last communication I got about him, but I still continue to keep him in my thoughts and prayers.

My family was so supportive throughout this entire process. Had they not given me their support, I do not think at the age of twenty-two I would have been able to do this on my own. Prior to the donation, I had never been admitted to a hospital. I know how frightening this was for my parents, but they didn’t show their fear. Their strength kept me strong. I pray that everyone signs up to be part of this donation because it changed my life and hopefully you can have the opportunity to change someone else’s life too.

My name is Kevin John and I donated in 2012.  My wife, Janice, and I have 4 children, Elise, Andrew, Jake, and Lyla. I graduated from Texas A&M University, and then South Texas College of Law. I am an attorney, and I currently work for Deloitte in their Advisory Practice. I first signed up for the registry over 10 years ago for a drive for a family friend.  Years passed by and I did not hear much about it and to be honest I forgot about it.  Then around 2008, shortly after Elise was born, I was contacted as being a potential match for a 5 year old girl, and they requested that I go for further testing. I went and got some blood drawn and then did not hear much after that. About 4 years passed by, and in addition to Elise, our twin boys Andrew and Jake were about 1.5 years old, running around and wreaking havoc. I received a call from Hope at the Marrow Program saying that we were in a position to move forward with donating for the little girl who was now 9. After some further blood tests, we were ready to move forward with a PBSC donation which was scheduled for June of that year. As the date approached, I had to take a few shots which my wife administered to increase my stem cell count. While this made me feel weaker and more tired, my wife was a good sport and helped take care of our daughter and mischievous little sons. This also helped me realize while I only had a few extra shots to take, I imagined what this little girl had gone through for so many years – the shots, the appointments, the days she must not have been able to sleep, play, be mischievous, because of the pain she may have been going through. I felt that taking a few extra shots and going through a few days of mild discomfort was the least I could do for someone who had to endure a far greater level of discomfort for the majority of her life. I also felt like while I could do my part to help, it did not end there for the little girl as her body still had to accept my stem cells and it would probably still be a long road to recovery. Today, I remain hopeful that she is doing fine and doing all the things 13 year-olds do. 

I can be a pretty shy person. For this reason, I really never told people about this, I don’t think I ever even told my parents. While I had my reservations about sharing, even writing this took about 10 drafts, I am now thinking that there are many people out there with potential matches that can be helped, just something for us to think about.


Kevin John