Meet Joe, a SAM Hero!

Curious about what it looks like to be a donor? Here is Joe, showing you how easy it is!

Joe signed up with SAM last year and recently donated peripheral blood stem cells, which is what 80% of donors are asked to give. We asked him some questions about his experience as a donor, and here is what he shared:

1) What were your thoughts when you were asked to join the bone marrow donor registry? 

I didn’t think about it much. It’s an opportunity that costs me nothing and has limitless upside potential for someone else. 

2) How did you feel when you found out you were a match?

Pretty good. It’s a very rare opportunity to make a serious impact on someone else’s life. Everything that I have invested years of time in (like my education and career) are of negligible importance compared to saving someone’s life. It was a no brainer. 

3) What was the process like leading up to the donation? 

I went to a nearby urgent care center to get my first round of Filgrastim Neupogen injections (which is given to donors to boost up the amount of peripheral blood stem cells). I had a nurse come to my home before leaving for work the following three mornings.

The injections made my back slightly sore and gave me mild headaches. The negative impacts of the injections were less than that of the morning after drinking a few beers. All traveling instances were less than 15 minutes long. 

4) What was the donation like? 

The donation was  shorter than I expected. Start to finish took about 4-5 hours. It was relatively comfortable- a couple of IV’s and that was it. 

I worked remotely on my laptop during the entire procedure, made video calls in lieu of typing out long messages since I could only use one arm during the harvesting. 

5) Would you do it again?

Yes, without hesitation. 

6) What do you want people to know about donating bone marrow that maybe they don’t know or misunderstand? 

Imagine you or a loved one was dying, and could have a chance to live if one stranger was mildly inconvenienced for a total of 8-16 hours over a period of one week (plus recovery time). Denying someone that chance would be selfish. 

How could you hear his story and see that smile and NOT want to join the donor registry?! It really is a no brainer. Sign up at