Donating peripheral blood stem cells was so simple for Nicholas that he didn’t fully realize the value of his precious gift.
“People keep reminding me that I’m saving a life, and how important that is, but I don’t think it’s struck me yet,” he said. “I know that in a year we can start exchanging letters, and that’s the point when I’m really going to realize this is something big.”
Stem cell donations help people with blood cancers and other blood disorders rebuild their immune systems and blood cells at the end of treatments. Under guidelines from Be The Match, the national database of stem cell and bone marrow donors, patients and their donors can’t contact each other until a year after the donation.
“If you’ve ever donated blood, this hurts a lot less,” said Nicholas, who is a government and history major at the University of Texas at Austin.