The Jacquie Hirsch for A.L.L. Foundation
 
 
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Cause' when push        
        comes to shove
You taste what        
        you're made of.
You might bend,        
        till you break
Cause its all        
        you can take.
On your knees        
        you look up,
Decide you've        
        had enough.
You get mad,        
        you get strong,
Wipe your hands        
        shake it off,
THEN YOU STAND.
 
MARROW DONOR EXPERIENCES
 
Those who have had the oppurtunity to be life-saving donors to patients in need, found it to be a very emotional, fullfilling and rewarding experience. Some of our donors who registered at drives held for Jacquie and held by The Foundation, graciously put into words what it means to give, and what it means to give LIFE.
 
 
CHRISTINE BATTAGLIA
 
  
I was so excited when 2 summers ago I got a call from the National Marrow Registry saying that I was a potential bone marrow match for someone!  Jacquie was waiting to have her second transplant, and I was hopeful that I could give someone that same hope and chance to live.  After going for some tests to see if I was indeed “THE” match for the person in need, I received a letter saying that the transplant was no longer going to happen as anticipated. Almost exactly one year later, I received another phone call from the registry-the recipient to whom I had been a potential match for, was healthy enough to have a transplant and her doctors had selected me as her match!!  I was overjoyed to hear that it was the same person from the year before, and hopeful that after the transplant she would have the opportunity to lead a long and healthy life. I decided to do the traditional marrow collection and the collection was scheduled for August 13, 2009.  After finding out that I was a match in June,  I was in and out of Roswell many times in the next few months.  Everyone I encountered at Roswell were amazing-absolutely wonderful, kind, and caring
individuals- all extremely dedicated to what they do.  The Bone Marrow Transplant Team was incredible.  Dr. Smiley and Dr. Battiwallawere wonderful, as were Dana, Sue, Karen and all of the other people I was lucky enough to meet during my visits to Roswell. The BMT wing was so full of hope, and it was so inspiring to be with people who work to save so many lives everyday. Throughout the whole donor process, I could not help but think of Jacquie and the incredible impact she has had on so many peoples’ lives.  Her legacy continues as more family and friends who are in the registry have the opportunity to help save the lives of others.  Almost everyone I met at Roswell, in all different departments, asked how and why I was in the registry in the first place.  Almost without exception, as I began to tell Jacquie’s story each time, the person would stop me and tell me what an unbelievable person Jacquie was, or how they had never seen so many people in and out donating marrow, blood, platelets etc. in honor of one person.  EVERYONE knew Jacquie. 
 
Donating was truly life changing for me, and I really consider myself to be so lucky to have had this experience.  I received one letter so far from my recipient, and although I already knew that donating had been so worth it, hearing from her was incredible.  I am hopeful that I will hear from her again someday.  I can’t wait to tell her all about Jacquie.  Regardless of if I do hear from her again, because of Jacquie, my recipient and I are connected in a very unique and special way.  And, of course, I hope to get the wonderful news that she is completely cancer free!!
 

TOM PELYCH
 
My name is Thomas Pelych and I recently completed a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. I would like to briefly share a little bit about my experience. I hope that my experience will lead you to make the same decision, or to simply join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry. Approximately two months ago I learned that I may have been a possible match for a patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, for short. I will not disclose the age or sex of my recipient out of respect to that person and due to the fact that his or her treatment is still ongoing, but I will divulge that the recipient is a parent with three children. My decision to donate was already a foregone conclusion, however, this information further deepened my desire to help this person. After the final testing, I was informed that
I was chosen as the best match for the patient and I was to proceed as the donor. The one aspect regarding my donation that I would like to highlight is how simple it really is to donate, specifically in regard to a PBSC donation. Embarrassingly, as an individual that possesses an extraordinary apprehension to needles, blood, etc., I found all of the procedures to be surprisingly non-invasive. In fact, the actual donation only took one day and I was fully-recovered with ample time to take a law school final only four days later. Moreover, the staff at the NMDP and Roswell Park Cancer Institute were extremely helpful, patient, and compassionate. All of the people involved continually accommodated my specific needs and it leads me to believe that they would do so for any donor.
 
The point I would like to make is that the actual donation process is disproportionately pain-free when compared to the ultimate potential outcome. I am currently waiting for the latest update concerning my recipient so I cannot fully express my final feelings regarding the donation, but it has been a very rewarding experience thus far. The knowledge that I have potentially furthered the life of a parent of three children makes me feel good about myself. I have been told that there is a chance that I will need to donate stem cells to the same recipient in the future and although some aspects of the process were difficult, I would do so again in an instant. The chance to help someone in such a unique way – even if it does not eventually prove to be life-saving – is an opportunity that I could never pass up and I hope that you will feel the same.
 

 
MAE LANKES
 
   My name is Mae Lankes and I just wanted to personally pass on the great news that I have been asked to donate bone marrow for a 51 year old lady with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I just wanted to tell you how honored I am to be honoring Jacquie's memory by giving another person a chance at life.  I hadn't told you earlier because I wanted to be certain that I was the person that they choose to donate, as they were looking at a few other candidates.  However, last week I found out that I was the best match available and I will be donating bone marrow in Rochester this Thursday and Friday. I am on the blue wave, and even though I was never super close with Jacquie, I loved hanging out with her and she was always a friendly smiling face to see on campus.  She has had a tremendous impact on my life and it is because of her bone marrow drive in Buffalo that I registered for the donor list.  Before knowing Jacquie, I hadn't really thought about registering to become a bone marrow donor, and knowing her has changed my view on many things in life, as well as changed the life of the lady that I am donating bone marrow to. This past week as I have gone to many doctor's appointments in Rochester, and everyone asks me how
I came to join the list, I feel so proud to tell them about Jacquie and how her fight against cancer is continued by all who know her. I hope that I have the chance to contact the lady who receives my bone marrow so that I can tell her all about Jacquie and my reasons for joining the bone marrow registry. The type of donation that I am doing is called peripheral blood stem cell donation, where I take shots for the week before the donation to release the bone marrow stem cells into my blood.  They then take the blood from my body one unit at a time and take the cells they need then put the rest of the blood back into my body.  I am also partaking in a research study to research what causes Graft-versus-Host disease in patients that receive bone marrow from unrelated donors. 
 
It is my hope that this research will help work closer to finding a cure for cancer. I know that this past year and a half has been more difficult than I can imagine, but I'm hoping that you find some comfort in the fact that Jacquie is still helping other people and still fighting against cancer.  I think of it as Jacquie is the one donating bone marrow, not me, as she was the person that inspired me to join the registry.  I cannot express to you how honored I am to be helping someone else in their fight against cancer, and for that I thank you for inspiring me.
 

This letter was recieved by one of the donors who are on the National Marrow Registry thanks to Jacquie's courageous fight.  Thank you to everyone who has become a potential life-saving match!
 
Dear Donor,
 
There aren't any words deep enough to tell you how truly grateful I am to you for your courage and generosity.  Thank you seems like so little.  You have given me a chance to overcome a terrible disease.  I was told that you are a twenty year old woman.  You are very brave and kind to help me.
 
I am 43 soon to be 44 year old women, married with two teenage children.  I was so worried I may not have a chance to see my son off to college and begin his life, or my daughter grow up and get married.  All these things you think about and worry about as a parent.  Will I still be there for them and will I be healthy enough to help them when they need me?  You have given me that chance.  Thank you so much.
 
Sincerely,
Your Host