Bone-marrow donation to save a life

February 21, 2017

By Cari Hyden

MIkeHollis_web
 
Saving lives is what health professionals do. Sometimes, an IT guy gets a crack at it, too.

In donating bone marrow to a leukemia patient, Michael Hollis, Senior Systems Analyst, may have saved that patient’s life.

It all started last June when Hollis visited the UNTHSC Wellness Solutions Fair. Passing the Be the Match bone-marrow table, he saw team members using Q-tips to swab the inside of their cheeks to see if they were a tissue match for someone needing a transplant. Some 70 percent of those who need a transplant don’t have a close family match.

Easy enough, Hollis thought. So his tissue type was entered into the National Bone Marrow Registry.

“I knew I might be a match for someone, but I thought it probably wouldn’t happen,” he said. The odds are about 1-in-430.

Four months later, the call came.

The organization asked Hollis to be tested to confirm a possible match for an adult leukemia patient. He answered questionnaires and had blood tests at Be the Match offices at Cook Children’s Medical Center. “I definitely wanted to help somebody if I could,” he said.

The blood tests confirmed he was a strong match for the patient. The next step was “the most thorough physical I’ve ever had in my life,” he said, and more blood tests.

Hollis had disclosed throughout the process that he had a cancerous kidney tumor removed a few years ago. He feared that might disqualify him from donating bone marrow. But the doctor noted the cancer was caught early, no chemotherapy was needed and Hollis has been cancer-free ever since. He was approved.

The doctor not only scrutinized Hollis’ suitability as a donor, but also how safe the donation procedure would be for him. The donation was scheduled for mid-January and would involve drawing bone marrow through a needle from the back of his pelvic bone.

Did he have any misgivings?

“No, not at all,” he said. “I had been told the procedure can cause lower back and hip pain, but it hasn’t been bad at all.” A few days with medication and a pillow in his chair at work for a couple of days took care of it.

He was free to change his mind until the time of his procedure. But he says he never considered that for a second. He knew that in preparing for a marrow transplant, donor recipients undergo chemotherapy to destroy their bone marrow. They are left with no immune system if the donor backs out.

What would he tell someone considering registering with Be the Match?

“If you’re thinking about it, go ahead and do it. I can’t think of one thing that would have changed my mind once I knew I was a match. Even if the pain had been more intense, it would have been worth it,” he said.

“You’re not just making someone’s day. You’re doing the one thing their doctor tells them can save their lives.”

 

Hsc Tcom Gold Humanism Society Inductees Fc
TCOM Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society welcomes new inductees 

By Steven Bartolotta The humanistic side of medicine is alive and well at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The TCOM Chapter of the Arnold P Gold Foundation inducted 45 students and four faculty members into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on the campus of The University of North Texas H...Read more

Jun 15, 2021

John Licciardone Hsc Fort Worth Fc
eHealth interventions could help African-American patients in battle with chronic pain

By Steven Bartolotta The PRECISION Pain Research Registry at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth has identified important racial disparities in pain management that became more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its study recently published in the special COVID...Read more

Jun 14, 2021

Diana Cervantes. Assistant Professor Biostatistics & Epidemiology
Dr. Diana Cervantes named among Fort Worth’s ‘most influential’ for public health service during the pandemic

By Sally Crocker Dr. Diana Cervantes has spent the last year keeping people informed and updated on all things coronavirus, and now she’s being recognized as one of Fort Worth Inc.’s “400 Most Influential People” for helping protect the community’s health during the pandemic. Dr....Read more

Jun 8, 2021

Opal Lee photo by Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Celebrating Juneteenth

By Diane Smith-Pinckney On June 19 1865, Major General Gordan Granger marched into Galveston with a critical message: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”  This was the opening se...Read more

Jun 8, 2021