In 2014, There Goes My Hero was asked to host a bone marrow registry drive at The Gathering food truck rally at McHenry Row in Baltimore. With a dozen volunteers, we were ready to talk to people about donation and get them swabbed. Burton Daniel was one of the 126 people who registered that night. A little less than 5 years later, Burton was asked to donate to a patient in need. He knew the answer was yes. “They call me a hero, but the truth is, how could I make any other decision?” he told us. Read more from Burton in his own words about what it means to be a donor.
“I was given an amazing opportunity to donate my bone marrow to a stranger, somewhere in the world who was sick and needed me. I casually took a cheek swab to add my name to the registry about 5 years ago. At the time, I did not think about it or make a decision, I simply swabbed my cheek at an event where There Goes My Hero had a table and moved on with my life.
“Honestly, I forgot about it, until I received an email notifying me I was a match and requesting my call. My heart began to race as I thought about what that could mean. Rarely in life are we presented with an opportunity to be truly selfless. Life is funny that way. Even when giving charity, you get a tax deduction or at a fundraiser you are praised by your peers for being “philanthropic.” This was an opportunity to give myself to a stranger with no expectation of anything in return or even its success.
“I am humbled by this experience and left in awe of the technology, science, and global network that makes this possible. Every person I have interacted with from my initial contact at DKMS, everyone at There Goes My Hero, the nursing staff, and doctors have all been amazing people. Each day they help connect people like myself with the true heroes in this scenario, those fighting for their life.
“My donation and recovery has been an easy one. Each time I experience some minor hip pain or I get a little winded walking up the stairs I am reminded what my recipient must be going through right now and realize this is nothing. If I had to make this decision, 100 times, I would make the same decision each time and I encourage everyone who can, to add their name to the registry and donate when it is their opportunity to step up.”