Many people say that they would do almost anything to help their friends, but what about a stranger? What would you be willing to do for a stranger? When it comes to someone you don’t know, how far would you be willing to go to help that person? Going the whole nine yards for a friend or family member can be tough enough, much less a stranger. The ability to willingly to give whatever is necessary for the benefit of a stranger is extremely rare and is only found in a special kind of person. Sterling Wright is the embodiment of that special kind of person, make no bones about it. Sterling, who is a chef at Five Star Food Service’s Nashville branch, recently donated his bone marrow to save the life of a Georgetown University student who he didn’t even know. This all started when Sterling attended a bone marrow donation event at work. He says he didn’t expect to ever be a donor, but while at the event he felt the calling to volunteer, so he signed up.
The process of bone marrow donation is not an easy one. Even before the actual donation procedure, there are a series of several steps to ensure a quality donor-patient match. These steps on average take between 20-30 hours to complete, and that does not include travel time (40% of donors travel during the donation process). During the actual bone marrow donation procedure, doctors use hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone through several small incisions. The procedure should take no longer than 2 hours in total.
Sterling’s procedure was successfully completed on Monday, May 9th, and his projected recovery time is 3-4 weeks. However, after just 2 days of recovery time, Sterling says he is already back to 100%, and that even though he is in pain, pain is just temporary, so he won’t let that hold him back.
A bone marrow transplant can be a critically important and potentially lifesaving treatment for patients who have leukemia, lymphoma, or a genetic metabolic or immune system disorder. Healthy marrow and blood cells are needed to live, and the aforementioned diseases can affect the marrow’s ability to function properly. The procedure replaces the unhealthy blood-forming cells in the recipient with healthy ones from the donor.
When asked why he was willing to donate bone marrow to a complete stranger, Sterling spoke to the fact that even though he isn’t old, he has lived life and enjoyed it, but this 18 year old girl, hasn’t been able to fully enjoy her youth due to her condition. Sterling said what made his decision that much easier was the fact that it usually takes 90 days for bone marrow compatibility results to come back, but his only took 2 weeks with a 100% compatibility rate. Those were all the signs he needed to see to know that he was meant to be the person to help this girl. This was an opportunity for him to help and enhance someone’s life; that alone was more than worth it.
So, to you Sterling, Five Star Food Service thanks you. We thank you not only for being a living, breathing example of how humans should treat each other, but for also being brave enough to step up and fill a role which many people would shy away from. Continue being the special person that you are, and don’t let anyone crush the helping spirit you have.
To learn more about bone marrow donation or to volunteer to be a donor visit bethematch.org