When Andrew Brode was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia two months after his 30th Birthday, I followed his battle on his blog. I worked with Andrew's father Uwe for years. Uwe's a great guy, the kind of guy who would drop everything to help you out, and his son was cut from the same cloth.
In February of 2012, I invited Andrew to write a guest blog entry about OneMatch.ca. At the time, Andrew was in remission. Here's what he wrote:
My name is Andrew Brode, and I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia 2 months after my 30th Birthday, in June of 2011. What a roller coaster ride of emotions it's been, too. Within 2 weeks of finding out that I had a 60% chance of survival, I was getting some of the strongest chemotherapy treatments currently used. I was in hospital for a month (induction), followed by 2 separate rounds of chemo as an outpatient (consolidation). Thankfully, by November I was one of the lucky few who went into remission.
What I didn't know going in, is that common protocol for leukemia patients (along with many other types of cancer and other diseases) is a bone marrow transplant. This is where they take the bone marrow of a healthy person, and via a procedure similar to a blood transfusion, they inject those healthy cells into your body. This basically means the recipient (me) is getting a new immune system. The procedure has it's risks, but often it will completely CURE the recipient of his/her cancer.
Now, onto the not so good news. Currently, there are 18 million people worldwide (and counting) on the national bone marrow registry. I don't have 1 single perfect match, which I may require at some point in the future. If I receive a perfect match, my Doctor suggests that I go through with the procedure, but, because I don't, that isn't an option right now.
The Canadian Registry can be found at www.onematch.ca, and the registration/donation process is completely simplified compared to what the common perception is of this type of donation. Essentially, to get onto the registry you Register on the website, and they'll in return send you a swab kit. You take the kit they send you, swab your cheeks, and mail it back. That's it. Once you've been added to the system, if you ever get called, the donation process is as simple as donating blood. The days of getting drilled into your hip and put out for surgery are long over.
The Canadian Registry has just over 300,000 people on it, compared to a national population of 25+ million. There are more than 10 times the amount of Facebook users in Canada as there are on the National Registry.
Please visit www.onematch.ca today, and make a difference. You can be the one match that saves someone's life.
I'm sitting in a rented flat in Rome right now where I just received an email from Uwe that Andrew passed away earlier today due to multiple lung infections caused by his weakened immune system following his stem cell transplant. Andrew was only 32-years old. It's truly heartbreaking....