October 20, 2011
Jonathan Olson and his wife Melanie flew to East Texas from Bellevue, Washington, to meet a very special lady at the Because I Care annual awards banquet in Longview on October 20, 2011. That lady was his bone marrow donor, Ramona Rawlings of Hope, Arkansas. In the spring of 2009, Jonathan was diagnosed with acute leukemia.
He achieved remission with his first series of treatments, but he relapsed a few short months later. His doctor said he needed a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, he had no compatible match within his family.
Before the end of the year a “match” was found on the Be The Match Registry.
Jonathan said, “I was very lucky in that a 10-point HLA match was identified, and that she was willing to follow through with the lab work and the donation.”
Ramona Rawlings, a native of Poughkeepsie, New York, had been on the donor registry for over ten years. She was recently widowed with a son in college in November 2009, when she saw a lady on TV who had survived leukemia due to a successful bone marrow transplant. Ramona prayed, “Please Lord, let me be a match,”
Ramona’s prayer was answered. She learned on Christmas Eve she was a possible match, and the transplant took place in February 2010.
Since the donation is done anonymously, Jonathan had no idea his donor’s name. He knew her donor ID number—ten digits ending with a “-9,” so he and Melanie nicknamed her “Dash Nine.” They were both thrilled to have the opportunity to meet his donor and learn her real name.
“It was absolutely amazing to actually get to see Jonathan face to face, and to know how well he is doing after all he has been through.” She went on to say, “I now have a new “family.”
Jonathan explained, “Now my life is like it was before, except that I am much calmer, happier, and more grateful. I encourage people to donate blood and to register for the Be The Match Registry.
“Swab your cheek…save a life!”