Carolyn Husband said she and her family never heard of “Be the Match” before April of this year.
Sure, they had always checked the box on the driver’s license applications to be organ donors, but “Be the Match” might as well have referred to a soccer match or a fire prevention campaign.
Today, she is a disciple.
A conversation with Husband can quickly and easily become a message on the life saving to be found by the mantra “Be the Match.”
“Be the Match” is the national bone marrow registry, a crucial data base in the fight against a host of diseases, but most especially a variety of cancers.
And, Husband added, she and her family never needed to know much about “Be the Match” until life tossed a curve.
In April, her 24-year-old son, Taylor, began complaining of fatigue.
It last a few days, then he became dizzy, passed out and ended up in a hospital emergency room.
A battery of tests and six hours later and the doctor delivered the stomach-punch diagnosis: leukemia, as it would turn out Acute Myleoid Leukemia.
Taylor was transferred to Shands Cancer Hospital in Gainesville the following day.
“He told me, ‘Mom, I am going to win this battle,’” Husband said. “Ever since then we have learned far more than I would ever want to know about leukemia and treatments.
“We are hoping and praying for a miracle and his complete healing.”
One of the first questions asked as doctors began crafting a treatment plan was whether Taylor had a brother or sister.
Enter sister, Laura Suber.
The question, and subsequent information about “Be the Match” was aimed at identifying a potential bone marrow donor; a bone marrow transplant has a high rate of success.
Meanwhile, the physicians also began referencing the nationwide registry while Laura underwent testing.
Two weeks ago, the news; Laura Suber was not just a match, she hit all the numbers, 10 out of 10.
Early next month the brother and sister will undergo a bone marrow transplant.
“We just want to get the word out to everyone to please consider registering with agencies such as Be the Match,” Husband said. “Organizations such as this one provide lifesaving transplant donors for those battling cancer.
“We also thought this would be a great way to help spread the word about the importance of considering all the families and friends who have someone battling cancer, or who has battled cancer in the past or lost someone to this dreaded disease.”
And sister Laura is not the only member of the family diving into the fray.
Laura’s daughter, Laila, being an observant 9-year-old, took notice of her Uncle Taylor and other patients as she has traveled at times between Wewahitchka and Gainesville.
Here she was with long flowing blonde locks while many of those patients had no or thinning hair.
She also knew there were organizations, such as Locks of Love, that turn donated hair into wigs for sick children and adults.
So, Laila sacrificed.
Over 12 inches of hair sacrificed, which was mailed out Friday to be destined for the head of someone who needs it.
“She had let her hair grow very long and only just trimmed it since she was a toddler,” Husband said. “I call her my Barbie.
“The gift (of hair) brought such joy to Laila’s face and price to her family; we realized it was a gift from the heart.”
Not that hair ends it, as Laila is also selling lemonade as the temperatures spike with any proceeds destined for Shands Children’s Hospital.
There is also benefit account established at Centennial Bank to assist Taylor with expenses and costs of travel on the “long road” to recovery.