teaspoon icon Get Swabbed, Baby

In November 2010, 11-year-old Shannon Tavarez, an actress who starred in The Lion King on Broadway, lost her life to leukemia. A year after her death, Shannon's story has inspired more than 15,000 new bone marrow donors to register with DKMS, which is the largest bone marrow donor center in the world, and 30 potentially life-saving matches have already been found for other patients.

In the below video, model Evander Holyfield, Jr. tells his story while donating his marrow, after being "matched to a patient in desperate need of a transplant within two months of joining the registry."

Click here to find out more about becoming a bone marrow donor.

Hey, how're you doing? My name is Evander Holyfield Jr. Right now, I'm donating bone marrow. I guess you could kinda say I'm feeling like Robocop when he first got built. But you know what? It's all good. I'm filling up my stem cell sack over there and I'm progressing pretty well and hopefully that thing will be up full in maybe a couple of hours or so.

I absolutely feel... I feel pretty good because the IV I have in me has my blood circulating all over my body. I can feel the tingling. In a sense, I can almost feel every blood vessel I have in me and it feels good. But I also feel even better that this is going out for a good cause. This is actually helping somebody out there who actually needs this and who is actually dying of leukemia.

I registered for a very good reason. I heard the story of a young actress by the name of Shannon who was in the Lion King and she died of leukemia. So, I went to a fundraiser and I heard her story which was absolutely motivating and I got swabbed there. Two months later, it led to me being selected for an individual, a young teenager who needs my stem cells right now.

I dedicate this donation to my grandmother, who has breast cancer. I dedicate it to her because she means a lot to me, and this young lady means a lot to me, and Shannon, this is for you as well. I donate it to all of you ladies out there; I appreciate you.

I just want to stress the point that it's very important to donate, you know, to help keep people alive and help people when you can help them. It's a very important thing to do. If you haven't helped anybody in a long time, get off the couch, get up. Get out and go help somebody. You know, cut some grass, and donate! Most importantly, donate. Get swabbed.org, baby! [laughs]
[Full Disclosure: I was provided the video link and transcript by a representative for DKMS, but I am getting no compensation for passing it along. It's just something which is important to me. Please also see this post by William K. Wolfrum for more information, especially as regards the need for African-American donors.]

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