DKMS Gala and Gregory’s Bone Marrow Donor ~ Part I

It’s currently 11:15pm, the evening of Saturday, April 28. Daddy is sawing logs and The OffSpring are spending the night with Nana and Papa. My earbuds are in and Spotify is rolling. I’m about to write a story. A true story of adventure, fear, anxiety and over flowing love. With a rare ending. One few people experience and fewer still experience in the way that we have. There will be a lot of words. Are you ready? Let’s go.

This past Tuesday, April 24, 2012, nearly in the middle of the night, my alarm went off at 2:30am. After only two and a half hours of restless sleep. I got myself ready, then at 3:00am went to rouse The OffSpring. AnnMarie’s alarm went off and she bounded out of bed. “We’re goin’ to New York City!” Curtis came rambling up the stairs. Gregory slept through it all. At promptly 3:30am, Nana and Papa pulled up to the curb. Gregory woke enough to realize that the moment really had arrived. We loaded into the car, with grins, nervous laughter and butterflies in our bellies.

The kids and I were on our way to the airport, flying to NYC. This would be our first time to NYC and The OffSpring’s first time on an airplane.

I had been hanging onto this trip since November of 2011. In October, while picking up AnnMarie from school, my phone rang and it was a 206 area code. Recognizing it was Gregory’s treatment center in Seattle, I anxiously answered the phone. Wondering if they were going to tell me that our donor wanted us to know who she was. That’s what it was. Kind of. Apparently Gregory’s donor center wanted us to meet and do some media. They needed me to sign a release form before any plans or information could be shared. This was the phone call that I had been waiting for, ever since we received The Magical Phone Call on April 21, 2009, that we had a matched donor for Gregory’s transplant. The form was sent, signed and sent back. Then another waiting game.

November 10, 2011, I received a phone call from Katharina Harf, COO of  DKMS Americas. DKMS is the largest bone marrow donor center in the world. Their United States office is located in NYC. They hold an annual fundraising gala. 100% of the proceeds from this event go directly to getting potential donors swabbed and registered for potential matches. Every year at this event they highlight a donor/recipient meet. In order to preserve the authenticity of the meet, the donor and recipient need to remain anonymous to each other until the actual meet on stage, at the event. Katharina had called ask if Gregory and his donor would be the pair to meet for the DKMS gala in April of 2012. Of course I responded with an overwhelming ‘YES!’. Aside from close friends and relatives, I have had to keep this under wraps. Not able to share openly what we were getting ready to do! Drove me absolutely crazy to not shout it from the roof tops. Over the next several weeks, I was introduced to the participating member of the DKMS and event planning team. It was decided that a video would be done to show at the gala, prior to our meet. DKMS contacted a local company Seven2 and a local production company ILF Media. They came out to our home and interviewed us on a bright sunny day in February.

Then the waiting really began. The plans were laid. DKMS took care of all the travel, hotel and transportation. All we had to do was show up at the airport in Spokane. The biggest concern, as we waited, was making sure that Gregory remained healthy enough to travel. With the gala being at the end of April, we still faced the reality that cold/flu season could strike and take away the possibility of Gregory being healthy. Considering that his immune system is still not functioning at capacity, he is still receiving IVIgG every four weeks AND the avoidance of Chicken Pox that winter my anxiety over his health was sky high. This was an opportunity I was NOT about to miss. Yet, if Gregory was not well, we would not go. Period. Then there is the anxiety of traveling across the country, on my own, with all three of the kids. Not to mention that we would be in Manhattan. I knew that I could make it work, but wondering and worrying over how we would navigate this grand adventure tore at my gut, brain and heart. I had never been to NYC. Taking the OffSpring somewhere I had been to before would have been so much easier. Not knowing what was ahead was daunting to consider. The days, weeks and months plodded by.

All of a sudden it was 14 sleeps ’til NYC. Then 10 sleeps. Out of nowhere it was 1 sleep ’til NYC.

We are ready! ❤ 

Part II ~ Tuesday

My heart is overflowing.


About Mindi Finch

Living with Magnificence. Kicking Childhood Cancer's Ass.
This entry was posted in dkms, Katie, NYC. Bookmark the permalink.

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