Sunday, September 14, 2008

An unexpected journey

Ryan got a phone call about 10 days ago that has sent us on an unexpected journey.

Let me first rewind a little bit back to 1999. In '99 Ryan and I were both students at Liberty University. I don't exactly remember the circumstances but they had a blood drive that also included the opportunity to sign up as a bone marrow donor. We both signed up and didn't think much of it. We just kind of went along with what everyone else was doing. I can still remember waiting in line with my friend Michelle and drinking orange juice and having a cookie as we walked back to our dorm.

We never imagined that almost ten years later we would be getting a call from the National Marrow Donor Program, but that's what has happened. They tracked Ryan down (they called his parent's house in Illinois too) because he is a potential match for someone needing a life saving bone marrow transplant. Being a bone marrow donor is not a pleasant experience and it's not something to take lightly, but because of two little people that we know this was an easy decision for Ryan to make.

Our precious cousin Olivia was the first person we both thought of when we got this call. If you've been following our blog for awhile you know that Olivia has basically spent the last two years of her life, fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with Leukemia this past spring, but God has poured out his blessings on her little life and her parents just got a call last week that Olivia's Leukemia is gone!!! WooHoo!

The other person that came to mind is one of Ryan's co-workers sons. Ryan's co-worker Brian has a two year old little boy named Alex. Alex was diagnosed with Leukemia in July of this year. He is currently at St. Judes receiving chemo treatments as he gets ready to have a bone marrow transplant. Please pray for Alex. He really has a fight on his hands, but he's a tough little guy and we are praying for him continually!!

And so, Ryan has decided to move forward with the process to find out if he is the best match for this stranger in need of a transplant. So far Ryan has completed an extensive medical history and tomorrow he has an appointment to have lots and lots of blood drawn. And then we wait! If it turns out that Ryan is the best match for this person then he could be asked to either donate bone marrow (a surgical procedure) or donate stem cells (not so fun either). This could take place this month or six months from now.

So that's what's going on with us! I wanted to share this, not because Ryan wants any glory in all of this (I'm sure any one of you would be doing the same thing if you knew you could save someone's life), but because we want God's will to be done. And that's how we're praying that whatever the outcome, God's will for Ryan's life will be accomplished. And we wanted to share this because this stranger needs a match! And we need to pray that they'll find one. Their life depends on it. It's exciting and a little nerve racking to think that God could use Ryan in this way. And if Ryan isn't a good enough match we need to pray that someone else will be!

I'll keep you posted on the progress of all of this and if you want to find out more information on how you could sign up to be a bone marrow donor go to: for more information. I know that it's kind-of a hassle to go someplace and give blood, but you could potentially save some one's life by signing up. There are over 300 million people in the United States and only 5 million of them are registered bone marrow donors. Not a great ratio, but you can do something about it! Add your name to the list! How thankful I am that Ryan's name is on that list!

I had an additional thought that I wanted to add. If you're one of our LU friends that signed up to be a bone marrow donor the same time we did, you need to go to and change your contact information. I'll warn you, it's not the most up-to-date website, they could make this easier, but it's definitely important to change your contact info. especially if you're a girl and have gotten married and now have a new last name. It's also important to do if your parents have moved in the last 10 years because they will try to contact your parents. You never know, you might be the next to get a call!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ryan for going forward with the marrow matching process. My prayers are with you as you undergo additional bloodwork tomorrow.

Earlier today I read a Caringbridge post from a lady named Dori who is alive and doing well today thanks to an unknown marrow donor.

I don't know you guys but found your blog through Alex Denton's site.

God's blessings on you family,

-Grateful in Tennessee

the*4*of*us said...

What an awesome opportunity!!! We'll be praying!

Aggiema (Michelle) said...

I actually already knew about this because I saw your comment on CF Husband's blog but am glad that you decided to share it with everyone. This is a wonderful thing. I pray that God's will be done. If Ryan can be a match for someone, I pray that it be as least painful for him as possible. Bless you both for your willingness to do this for another person. As the Bible says...when you show kindness and love for others you are actually showing kindness and love for Jesus. I know He is pleased!

Jake and Nikki said...

I think it is wonderful that you both are bone marrow donors and quite incredible that Ryan may be a match for someone. I know that the process may be lengthy and the procedure may not be pleasant, but just to encourage you I have two family members who are alive and well thanks to having bone marrow transplants. One was only 4 years old when he needed his and is now 18 years old and the other was given only 6 months to live and after two bone marrow transplants is still alive two years later! God bless you for your willingness to be used and we are praying for a perfect match and complete healing for this person.

Sarah said...

Dear Ryan and Judy,
What a big journey this is but what an even biigger God we serve. I hold to the hope that nothing passes through to us without God knowing. I will really be praying earnestly for this situation and all involved. Especially for healing of whoever it is that needs this marrow transplant.
Keep us posted:)

Katy said...

This is interesting - I remember giving blood several times at LU, but can't remember the bone marrow part. I'll have to go online and check it out. Sometimes God works in amazing ways that are beyond our wildest imaginations, isn't it?

the mccollums... said...

this is great...what an important story and lesson to learn that what you did in the past can sure impact the future! Keep us all posted...what a huge blessing.

I wasn't a bone marrow/blood donor that year as I was in India...and after India you can't donate blood or anything for 5+ years because of what you are exposed to. Crazy huh?

Heather said...

wow! That's exciting, I hope they find a perfect match if Ryan's not their man.
Heather W.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your journey! What an amazing opportunity to help someone. I will pray that everything goes smoothly for you, and that the person who is in need of a donor finds the perfect match.

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Judy - I am so proud of you both as a couple and as a family.