This February, Mayra Lopez received a strange text message. It read, “You might be a match, it’s important that you call us.”
Mayra had almost forgotten that she joined the Be the Match registry three years ago, back in February of 2019.
She included herself as a potential donor after being recruited by her sister Karla, a former employee of the Icla da Silva Foundation.
When asked why she joined, Mayra told us that her sister explained how rare it was to find a donor within the Hispanic community.
“Life is so fragile, and I will do whatever I can for my community.”
When Mayra called back after receiving the text, the only information she was given about the patient was that he was a 22-year-old male, and probably of Hispanic descent.
After hearing that, she knew he didn’t have a choice, and neither did she.
“This patient was relying on me!”
She couldn’t just ignore this patient…Mayra said yes to donating her blood stem cells.
We asked her about the donation process. She said she was surprised at how easy it was. “It was so much easier than I expected. No pain, nothing. It took about 4 hours and I napped most of the time.”
In the hours between having breakfast and lunch at the hospital, Mayra saved the life of someone she did not know by donating her blood stem cells.
When we asked what she thought about that, Mayra insisted, “it was a once in a lifetime opportunity”. She told us, “I was excited because something good was happening. A life was saved…it’s a beautiful thing.”
We thanked Mayra for saving a life and explained how the Icla da Silva Foundation had recently expanded our mission to provide emotional, logistical, and financial support to remove barriers to treatment.
We told Mayra, “Just like you, so many patients are relying on us”. She let us know that she understood, and she was excited by our cause. “Resources are limited, and so many people are afraid to put themselves out there. Thanks for everything you do.”
Thank you, Mayra. Thanks for your support, and thank you for saving someone’s life.
Together we can make a difference for patients in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. Together we will save more lives.
Written by: Bret Itskowitch