October 13 was National Marrow Donor Day. On this day, donors are especially remembered, but the donors also remembered the patients, the youngest ones, and sewed mascots for them – eloquently called “sorrow eaters”. Every year there are more and more donors, so there is a greater chance for a second life for sick genetic twins.
The hospital has been home for 10-year-old Bartek for almost three months, and for his same-year-old Oliwia – for over a year. Patients of the Hematology and Oncology Department of the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk cannot do what they like most. – Go for walks, play football with friends and walk around the city with friends – says Bartek.
The faces of children in two hospitals – in Gdańsk and Poznań – couldn’t help but smile when the “sorrow eaters” arrived on Saturday. On Friday, which was the National Marrow Donor Day, the mascots were sewn by those who donated bone marrow. – These days are the same, monotonous, and yet something new, designed with them in mind, I think can put a smile on this face – says Angela Wasiak, bone marrow donor, DKMS Foundation.
The mascots were made based on children’s drawings. The “sorrow eater” designed by Bartek is impressive and, most importantly, in the special pocket of each such plush toy you can hide difficult emotions that appear in children during treatment. – It is always some form of therapy, children have something to do, they can break away from everyday life in the hospital, from injections, from medications, from chemotherapy for a moment – emphasizes Marta Czyż-Taraszkiewicz, president of the z Pompą Foundation – Help Children with Leukemia.
The idea of sewing stuffed animals was born in a foundation that registers potential bone marrow donors and has the largest database in Poland. – There are one million 900 thousand registered people, of whom 12.5 thousand are actual donors, i.e. people who, by donating blood-forming cells or bone marrow, helped a patient for whom transplantation was perhaps the only chance for recovery – informs Magdalena Przysłupska from the DKMS Foundation .
Who can become a bone marrow donor?
The registry looks for donors from outside the family. – Currently, most often it is an unrelated donor in 75-80 percent of cases. Since 1989, I have been keeping a register of all transplants in children and at the moment this is the percentage – says Prof. Jacek Wachowiak, head of the Oncology, Hematology and Pediatric Transplantology Clinic of the Medical University of Poznań, president of the Dzieciaki Chojraki Association.
Barbara Hirsz’s daughter found a genetic twin two years ago. – Knowing that there is someone somewhere who will save your child’s life brings a tear to your eye and these are emotions that are difficult to describe in words – emphasizes Mrs. Barbara.
The principle is simple – the more registered potential donors, the greater the chance of finding a genetic twin for patients. And among them there are people with such rare genotypes that the chance of finding a compatible donor is one to even several million. – You can have the feeling that you can save someone’s life – says Oliwia, a patient of the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk. Someone saved Oliwka’s life. It was not Mr. Dawid, because he gave a second life to a Dutch cross-breed. He does not complain about pain during the procedure.
Anyone can register in the bone marrow donor database. It is enough to be a healthy person between 18 and 55 years of age.
Main photo source: TVN24