When he first got the news, John Carty wasn’t sure he could go through with it. But then the six-foot defensive lineman rallied and decided that being selected as a donor for the Be the Match Registry program was something he could handle. “I thought about what that person must be going through,” says Carty, a junior majoring in Politics and Spanish. “I knew that a few days of discomfort and a few hours connected to a machine was the least I could do to increase that person’s quality of life, or at least give her hope.”
Carty underwent the procedure late in 2011 and says the recovery process was not difficult. The experience lasted for over one month. “Aside from being tired and sore for a day or two after the donation,” he says, “my body felt like nothing ever happened.”
Notified in November 2011 that he was a match, Carty visited the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., where the donation would take place. By the end of the donation experience, which included blood testing and injections, he had been in and out of the hospital from Thanksgiving of 2011 to the beginning of January 2012.
In the early-morning hours of the day of the donation, Carty’s mother drove him to the hospital. There he received the last two injections and began the last step of donating his bone marrow. “The machine used to collect the marrow filters blood, extracts the white blood cells, and pumps the blood back in. I had one needle in my left arm, where the blood went into the machine, and one in my hand, where it was pumped back into my body.”
The most difficult part, he says, was the five-day period leading up to the donation day. “I was given 10 injections over the course of the five days in order to boost the production of white blood cells, which are extracted from the marrow after the donation. The extra production puts stress on the longer bones, so my legs, back and neck were pretty sore. I spent a lot of time in bed during those days.”
Once it was over, Carty felt a mixture of accomplishment and relief. “I was happy that the whole process was over, but I was proud of what I had done and glad to actually have aided a struggling person in their fight for life. The whole experience made me realize how important these bone marrow registrations and blood drives can be to a person in need. I also learned that by sacrificing something so minuscule like a few days of discomfort and a few hours in a hospital, you can make a huge difference in a person’s life.”
Click here to read about Carty’s teammate, Teddy Conrad 2013, who became a donor in 2011.