One in 540 people who apply to donate stem cells are told that they are a match for a potential recipient, so when three University of Louisville Sigma Chis registered for the stem cell drive they weren’t expecting to be a match, but Max Voorhies, Matt Vernard, and Cameron Tillett decided to go ahead and register for the drive anyway in support of their brother, Chad Perrewe, whose uncle had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, all three of them have received calls notifying them that they are perfect matches for different patients. I’m no mathematician, I’m not even somebody who’s done math homework since the 10th grade, but I imagine the odds of three fraternity brothers all being told they have this opportunity are extremely low. Dannie Moore, executive with the National Marrow Donor Program, has admittedly never even heard of such an amazing coincidence.
Upon receiving their respective calls, the boys were faced with a decision: whether or not to go through with the painful donation process. Donors are expected to undergo injections for about a week to increase their stem cell counts, often causing them to experience flu-like symptoms in addition to transferring bone marrow, which doctors describe as “hurting like a bitch.”
All three now 22-year-olds agreed that they had an obligation to go through with their procedures. So few patients even find matches for this potentially life-saving procedure, and of them, not all donors go through with it, so as Tillett said “There was a brief moment when I could have said no, but I felt like I had to, really.”
Luckily for them, it was NBD. Voorhies reports on his surgery last July:
“Thirty minutes later, I’m awake and out of surgery, still hopped up on pain-killers and talking to all the nurses I can see. It’s made out to be a lot more painful than it really was.”
F-move. Thirty minutes post-surge and he’s hitting up the hot young talent in the building. Just all, “I’m no doctor, baby, but I can still save lives.” If I were attracted to doctors because they have honorable careers instead of the fact that they make a lot of money, then hell, I’d have felt a tickle in my panties just thinking about it.
The identity of the transplants’ recipients are kept private unless the patients decide to reach out to their donors, many of whom do. Voorhies was able to lengthen the life of a 52-year-old man who was terminally ill, and Vernard’s operation seems to have improved the prognosis of a 5-year-old victim of leukemia who reached out to him with a Christmas card.
“She calls the bone marrow her ‘factory,’ because it produces new blood cells,” Venard said. The front of the card said “Thanks for the factory,” and on the inside it read “I feel good.”
“That was one of the most rewarding cards I’ve ever gotten,” he said.
I can NOT even. The one thing that always makes me melt is a guy having a positive impact on a little kid. I have baby fever, and I’ve got it bad, and that just made my symptoms flare up like a bad case of herpes. But in a good way.
Tillett is still yet to hear from his recipient because he only donated recently, but all three guys are extremely happy with their decisions and encourage others to register to donate. They’ve dramatically positively impacted three sick patients and their families and all in the name of brotherhood. That’s what it’s all about ladies and gentlemen. Carry on.
[via Courier Journal]
Image via Courier Journal