Patient Care Tech Saves Lives with Bone Marrow Donations

Patient Care Tech Saves Lives with Bone Marrow Donations

Bonnie Adams joined a bone marrow registry operated by Be the Match back in May of 2003. At the time, she joined to see if she was a match for a local teen in need of bone marrow.  It was not until September of 2013 that she was contacted about another possible match.

Adams wants to help people in any way that she can. She regularly donates blood and decided that donating bone marrow would be an additional way that she can help others. Adams is a patient care tech at MoBap. Caring is all she knows.

She was contacted in September as her blood work from her registration demonstrated that she might be a match for a 56-year-old female with acute lymphocytic leukemia.  Further blood work was done to confirm that Adams was the best match for the patient.  She then underwent a series of tests including a physical, an EKG, and chest x-ray to rule out any disqualifying infections or diseases.  Once she was cleared, Adams was ready to save a life.

Donor registries save lives

According to Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®, 70 percent of all patients who need a bone marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.  A patient’s likelihood of finding a matching donor on the registry is estimated to range from 66 to 93 percent.  Bone marrow registries save lives.

Adams had the option of going to Kansas City, Denver, or Washington D.C. for the actual procedure.  Adams selected D.C. as it was what worked best for the program as well as her.  Every part of her trip, including travel arrangements for a companion, and any expenses related to her testing were covered by Be the Match. 

Adams reflects on her experience with nothing but positivity.  Contrary to popular belief, the procedure and recovery gave her little pain. They put her to sleep for the procedure, which itself only lasted 32 minutes.  They went in through both sides of her pelvis and her iliac crest, leaving only the feeling of a bruise on her back.  She was asked not to lift anything heavy for 2 weeks following the procedure but other than the slight bruising sensation, she experienced no other complications from the procedure. 

The doctor said that Adams could be called to donate again and she says that she would be more than willing to do it again, “It was a very good experience and I am very glad I did it.”

While Adams is very humble about the whole process, it is clear that she is very proud.  She boasted about her rich bone marrow, “They normally take one and a half IV bags of bone marrow but they only took one from me.  They said my bone marrow cells were so right that they didn’t need to take as much. Halfway through the procedure they send a sample down to the lab to test it.”

Ready to do it again

Her bone marrow did the trick.  The patient is doing even better than expected.  Adams says, “They told me she is doing well and she is out of the hospital.  That was around the one-month mark and normally with a bone marrow transplant they keep the patient in the hospital for about three months.  But she was already out of the hospital after a month.  I will get another update on her when it has been six months, which will be in July.” 

There is no telling the number of people Adams has saved over the years between her regular blood donation, her work at MoBap, and now her bone marrow donation(s).  Her enthusiasm and willingness to help others is inspiring.  The community is lucky to have a caregiver like Bonnie Adams. 


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