people can truly attest that they’ve helped save a life, but Megan MacIsaac, a
2010 graduate of Seattle University and four year letterwinner on the Redhawk
softball team, can do just that.
signed up for the bone marrow registry about three years ago when they were
doing a drive for a local three year old girl with leukemia,” says the Santa
Barbara, Calif. native. At the time, she just had a simple cheek swab done to
see if she might be a match, but she decided to take things a step further.
remembers, “At the marrow drive, we had the option to join the national
registry. I decided to join because I figured if I was willing to donate to
this local girl who I didn’t even know, why wouldn’t I donate to someone else?”
couple of years passed by as MacIsaac started her professional career,
altogether forgetting that she had signed up for the national registry through
a program called “Be the Match”, until she received a “one in two million” type
of phone call.
I first got the call, I thought it was a prank,” MacIsaac remembers, laughing
to herself. “I actually cut the woman off halfway through the medical survey.
But then I called her back two days later once I got a grip on myself.”
the odds are close to one in two million that a donor would be an actual match
for someone who is not directly related to them, despite the unexpected phone
call, MacIsaac never expected what would come next.
doctor said that he had been in the registry for 35 years and had never gotten
a call. One of my co-workers has been called twice for being a potential match,
but was never compatible after additional testing.”
drove down to Pasadena twice for a four-hour total body physical at the City of
Hope Hospital and a third time for additional testing and a meeting with an
anesthesiologist. During the additional testing, it was discovered that she was
indeed a match for an eight year old boy in the United States.
are two ways of collecting bone marrow from donors, one of which is called
aphaeresis, a 4-6 hour process where blood is drawn from the donor’s arm in
order to collect stem cells. The second method, a bone marrow harvest, was the
one MacIsaac underwent.
bone marrow harvest is where doctors go into your bone and withdraw the actual
marrow from the back of the pelvis. You are put to sleep, then they go in
through the lower back with a needle and pull about two teaspoons of marrow
with a syringe, and they do about 15-20 pulls per hip. They go in through the
same hole each time, but must prick a different part of the bone, so it can be
pretty painful with sore nerves, muscles, and bones afterward.”
a procedure which lasted around an hour and a half, she was moved to a recovery
room for a couple hours and then to her own private room for the rest of the
was in a lot of pain directly following the procedure and was hobbling around
for two to three days, but my procedure was on a Friday so I had the weekend to
for MacIsaac, the momentary pain she underwent is more than worth it.
feels great to have been able to help someone in this way. I feel strangely
connected to this boy, like he is my son or brother. And really, he is my
little genetic twin out there, even before I gave him my marrow.”
2013-14 edition of the Seattle U softball team concludes their fall schedule
with a home tournament this weekend, hosting Oregon, Central Washington, and
St. Martin’s on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13. Stay tuned to
GoSeattleU.com for an upcoming schedule announcement for the 2014 regular