Las Positas College held its first ever Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry Drive on Nov. 14.
There were 58 potential donors at the drive. Among all of those people who wanted to make a difference in somebody’s life was LPC cross country runner Taylor Peissner
Peissner was initially hesitant to go through with it. He could not make such a big decision without the input from his loved ones. After conversations with his family and his coach, he decided to become a potential donor.
“I didn’t do this for any reason except to possibly help save somebody’s life,” Peissner said. “There are a lot of people out there who are affected by these diseases.”
One main disease is Leukemia. Many patients are dependent on bone marrow transplants to survive. According to the Be The Match website, 70 percent of patients, or 10,000 patients annually, rely on the marrow registry.
LPC cross country head coach Steve Navarro was asked by Peissner what he thought about him potentially becoming a donor during the season. While Navarro was surprised about the possibility, he told Peissner he would support whatever decision his runner made.
“I couldn’t tell him what to do but I think everyone agrees that saving someone’s life is a great thing to do,” Navarro said. “It’s an amazing selfless thing that he is doing.”
While it is small, there is always a risk when donating bone marrow. According to marrow.org, a small percentage (1.34 percent) of donors experience a serious complication due to anesthesia or damage to bone, nerve or muscle in their hip region. Peissner understood this and was still willing to sign the waiver.
“I knew about the small risk, but there’s a risk in anything that we do,” Peissner said. “That was the last thing on my mind.”
Julia Stansberry, Vice President of the Biology Club, organized the drive and was glad Peissner and the rest of the donors took that small risk and showed up. The goal that they had for the number of people to show up was easily met.
“Our original goal of registering 50 potential donors was exceeded and will give hope to many patients with life-threatening cancers and diseases,” Stansberry said.
The process of donating bone marrow can look intimidating. In order for the donation to happen you must receive an injection for five straight days to move blood-forming cells from your bone marrow to your bloodstream. Peissner is prepared for the process if and when he is called upon for a possible donation.
“I knew what I was getting into when I signed up,” Peissner said. “If they need me to donate I will be ready to go.”
Peissner was recently contacted about possibly finding a match for a transplant. It is a woman who he has never met and might never meet. The opportunity to meet her would depend on the transplant center and the recipient’s consent.
“They told me they will let me know in late December for sure if it will happen,” Peissner said. “That would make for a great Christmas present for her.”