Be The Match: Haven and Gwen’s story

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Like many people, Haven Davis has been tuning into podcasts. One in 2017 caught her attention in particular. It was about Be The Match, an organization that helps connect donors and recipients of life saving bone marrow and stem cells.

“They made it sound so easy,” she called. ”Which it really was. They mailed me the swab, and it didn‘t cost anything. I thought I might as well do it.”

The teacher at Hiawatha Academies never thought they‘d be calling just a few months later, saying there was a match.

“I was on the phone with them, and I hadn‘t said yes yet. When they told me it was for a 14-year-old girl, I was like sign me up. As a person who strongly identifies as a youth worker, that was how they hooked me for sure.”

In the end, her donation surgery was in November of 2018. The bone marrow went to Gwen Cinquemani, who had a rare blood disease.

After a year, Be The Match will share the information about the donors/recipients, if those people choose to find out more.

Davis reached out in an email. “Gwen‘s mom sent one back almost immediately. The subject line was, thank you for saving my daughter’s life,” she remembered.

They‘ve kept in touch, via email and one video call. One day, Davis mentioned she always wanted to come to New York. And it just happened that the Be The Match New York Gala was coming up.

The two families are meeting Thursday evening in New York City at the gala, and Davis is excited.

And she is just happy to spread the word about the process. She does not seek praise, although when people hear about her donation, they like to give it.

“I don‘t want to downplay how important this was to Gwen and her family. But it didn‘t cost me anything, and really, it was a gift to me, too,” Davis shared.

The organization is always looking for financial donations as well. They cover the entire cost of the transplant for the donor, plus any extra costs. And the organization covers costs for the recipient that aren’t covered by insurance.