Sam and Alex
Sam (23, left) and Alex (25, right) are sisters. When Sam was in high school she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a life threatening blood disorder that can only be cured through a bone marrow transplant. In an attempt to be the match, Sam’s family had their DNA tested. No match was found. Sam’s name has sat on the National Bone Marrow Registry list for years.
Sometimes in life we have to put fate into our own hands.
Sam and Alex were tired of just sitting around and waiting for a miracle. They sold both of their cars, bought this van and plotted a course…
They made a promise to go to all 50 states in search of a match.
Sam and Alex have been driving that van from state to state since January. With each stop, they set up a table asking people to sign up for the National Bone Marrow Registry.
They target colleges mostly.
Research shows that younger people between (18-44) are most likely to lead to a successful match, so Sam and Alex have been visiting a lot of college campuses. A simple swab of inside of the mouth is all it takes to sign up.
Life on the road isn’t always as glamorous as it may seem.
Whether they are sick or not, they keep moving. When Alex is sick she wears a mask to reduce the risk of affecting her sister’s compromised immune system. Sam takes 20 pills a day to keep her blood disorder at bay.
“No, thank you.”
The truth is that most of their endeavor is rejection. They only get a few seconds as a stranger passes their table; It’s not enough time to explain. On top of that, there are a lot of misconceptions about donating bone marrow. With every person who says “No, thanks”, it’s hard for Sam and Alex not to wonder if maybe that was the person they have been looking this whole time.
The fight is not just for them though.
Despite their challenges, Sam & Alex have signed up over 13,873 people for the donor registry. 115 of these individuals were discovered to be actual matches for people in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
This badass is named Connor. He signed up at one of Alex and Sam’s tables and is donating his bone marrow, giving some one a second chance at life. Unfortunately none of those 115 matches were for Sam.
Commitment & hope.
Sam and Alex share a tattoo. It may look like just a bunch of letters and numbers, but it is actually a Human Leukocyte Antigen sequence. This is the code of proteins that identifies the DNA match that would save Sam’s life.
To this very day, Sam and Alex are still on the road looking for the person who possess the code.
I am meeting Sam and Alex at a speech on November 11th in Austin, Texas.
For reasons I won’t go into right now, I believe deeply in the importance of a promise. People like this are awesome. I reached out to Sam and Alex. I’m working with a nonprofit in Austin, Texas and we are hosting a TED Talk type speech that is free and open to the public. Sam and Alex will be there with their table.
If you’re in the area, please consider coming! University of Texas at Austin on Wed., November 11th – at 6:30pm. More event info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1513951648920032/1516970618618135/
Their current record for donor registry sign ups in a day is 330. We’re hoping to crush that.
Wherever you are, please consider signing up for the National Bone Marrow Registry. You could be someone’s hero: http://www.deletebloodcancer.org/register?source=sharingamericasmarrow Follow their journey through http://sharingamericasmarrow.com.
Side note: I am not affiliated with these girls or their nonprofit. I just think what they are doing is legit.
Alex Sheen, Founder
because I said I would.