My name is John Aquino. I am a middle and high school teacher at Paʻauilo School on Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi. In college I passed by a Be The Match registry booth on my way to class. I registered with my name, some information, and a cheek swab, and forgot about it for the next 5 years. About two months ago, I got a call that led me to donate my bone marrow in June, 2014.
If you are looking to or have been asked to donate, the general steps are as follows. Before the procedure, you have to fill out a few medical surveys, have a blood test taken, have a physical exam, and depending on your procedure of choice, have two units of blood drawn to be later given back to you during the procedure. All this is done at no personal cost, and a great opportunity to get the best personal health check of your life. At this point, you are given the choice between two procedures. One is a surgical procedure, the other is not. More information can be found at www.bonemarrowhawaii.com.
I chose the surgical procedure. In my opinion, the pain was much less than I expected. I would compare it to the soreness you feel from a bruised tailbone the first time you snowboard down a mountain (for those of you familiar with this experience). I am currently seven days out of the operation and the pain is now dulled. I rarely think about it and only feel it in certain motions.
As cliché as I am sure it sounds, this was a gift I couldn’t afford to not give. The pain and inconvenience I went through seems minimal compared to the pain and trials the patient is going through. It is the gift of a rare and unlikely chance at survival that you would be giving the patient and their family when they are more than likely on the brink. I have no doubt it my mind that if asked again, I would do it without a second thought!