When volunteering at packet pickup in 2009 with 24 Foundation, Louise Hindal registered with Be the Match, simply because of the fact that she could save a life by donating something so small, it was too compelling not to get swabbed.
“I heard them [Be the Match] go through the details many, many times over the course of the 24 hours and it just seemed like something I had to do,” Louise said.
Three and a half years ago Louise got a call out of the blue — Be the Match needed her to go through blood tests to determine whether she was a match for someone. Since it was a time sensitive case it all moved pretty quickly. After it was confirmed that Louise was a match, she underwent a pre-donation physical before going in to donate.
“During the transplant they drilled four small holes into my hip bones and drew out the bone marrow through them,” Louise said. “I was under anesthesia for the entire procedure that lasted for about an hour. I remember waking up and feeling a bit sore; it hurt to sit in certain ways. I was on pain killers for a day, but besides that they healed up pretty quickly.”
On March 17, 2011, Louise’s bone marrow was extracted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and the next day doctors at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington transplanted the healthy marrow into Jordan Jemsek, now 9 years old.
Donating her bone marrow did not affect Louise physically, but emotionally it was an amazing experience. Knowing that she was lucky enough to be able to save a young girl’s life still gives her goose bumps.
“Life is such a beautiful thing and knowing that I could save a life by giving a small piece of myself was so powerful to me,” Louise said.” It made and still makes me so happy that I was able to do this.”
Louise did not know until after the procedure that she was donating her bone marrow to Jordan, although she had her suspicions. When Louise first got the call about being a potential match there were some articles in the Charlotte Observer about Jordan, which seemed to match the information Louise knew about the girl she was donating to.
“Our heritages are similar so my family always hypothesized it might be her [Jordan],” said Louise. “When we finally learned it was indeed Jordan and I got to meet her, it made the experience even more incredible. It was amazing and unreal to meet Jordan. Not only did I match her, but we had lived 15 minutes apart! Since our meeting we have definitely kept in touch. It feels as if we are almost related at this point – we do share the same blood now after all.”
Louise recommends registering with Be the Match to others as it can easily turn into one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life. Not only is there little sacrifice involved in doing something so great, but it is rare that you get the chance to do something as concrete as saving a life, which could be one of the most rewarding acts in your life.
“Based on my experience I would donate again in a heartbeat,” Louise said.