After a 20 year wait, one local man will finally get a chance to help a cancer patient in need.
Darin Jones put himself on a list to donate his bone marrow in the early 2000s. The possibility of finding a match is extremely low, but this year he was finally connected with someone with Leukemia nearly two decades after being put on the donation list.
Mr. Jones said that due to how hard it is to find a match, any one should consider getting on the donation list.
“I encourage people to get on the bone marrow donation list. A family member only matches about 30 percent of the time,” Mr. Jones said. “I have read that the donor list needs more diversity, minorities are under represented. Mixed race is definitely in need.”
He said that he has to wait for one year to find out to whom he will have donated his bone marrow. Mr. Jones said that he at least knows that the person is a U.S. citizen and that they are dealing with an aggressive cancer.
“There is a guy someplace in our country who is on the verge of full on leukemia,” Mr. Jones said. “Knowing that doing this donation may keep him healthy or at a minimum, more time with family, that makes it worth it. I do hope he achieves full remission so he can get back to living versus surviving.”
Mr. Jones said that he will go in to donate his bone marrow in March at a facility in Florida. This week he will be traveling to the location for intake and a physical.
He said that he isn’t as concerned about the procedure as it has changed to more of a process that is similar to giving plasma.
He did say that he does not look forward to missing time off from his position at Kootenai Health (KH) or the up to two weeks of exhaustion after the procedure.
“As for concerns just minor things really,” Mr. Jones said. “It can make you tired or exhausted for a week or two. I don’t want to miss work but inevitably I will miss some. Working at KH is nice because they understand and have plans if I'm out for a bit. There is always that small chance of death. We all make calculated risks everyday and those turn out fine usually.”
Mr. Jones is a 2000 graduate of St. Maries High School and a Navy veteran. He is the father of three children, Sydney, Rocky and Sam. He said that his daughter will be tasked with taking care of him after his proceedure.
“When I go for the week of donation in the beginning of March I will be taking my daughter Sydney,” Mr. Jones said. “She will be able to help me out and take care of me if need be. Also it expands her life learning experiences. The boys are jealous but they understand it is much bigger then any of us.”