Student’s match saves life

By Nancy Benet


University of the Incarnate Word senior Alex Ramirez hasn’t met the child who received his life-saving donation of bone marrow. But he hopes to when the time comes.

Only about five in 10 patients receive the transplant they need to save their lives. After the Team Tony drive last year at UIW, a match was made between Ramirez and a child with leukemia.

“In September of 2014, my girlfriend at the time was a pre-pharm student volunteering at the drive they had going on,” Ramirez said. “I went to go take something to her and ended up signing up. I got the call around February or March saying that a 10-year-old boy was in need of a marrow transplant, and that I could be a potential match.”

Although the chances he might be a match was one in five, Ramirez went through about six sessions of blood work in order to confirm he was.

“I was a little nervous, but psyched about getting the chance to help,” Ramirez said.

The operation took place last June. According to Ramirez, he could walk right again by August.

“It was totally worth it knowing that I was able to give a child the gift of life,” Ramirez said. “From what I have heard, he is doing fine.”

Be the Match has a policy stating it can’t disclose any personal information about the donor or recipient, but the family of the boy has sent Ramirez a variety of thank-you cards.

“I got a Christmas card from the family,” Ramirez said. “The boy himself drew some really cute doodles and Michael Jackson lyrics. It was really heartwarming.”

A year after the transplant, both parties are given the option to meet.

“I have no idea where in the country they live, but when the times comes I really hope they want to meet me,” Ramirez said. “I really want to meet them.”