Itasca woman travelled to Ohio to donate bone marrow after matching with a patient

ByHosea Sanders and Marissa N. Isang WLS logo
Friday, April 17, 2020
Itasca woman donates bone marrow donation in spite of COVID-19 concerns
A 22-year-old woman donated her bone marrow in memory of her late mother.

ITASCA (WLS) -- A 22-year-old home from college with her family has answered the call to save a life by donating her bone marrow.

Being a donor for Be the Match changed the life of a young woman from Itasca in so many positive ways. She was able to save the life of someone she doesn't even know.

"It was a quick turnaround from the call. Only a few weeks," said donor Kelsey Rahe.

In the blink of an eye, Rahe was preparing to head to the hospital not sick as a patient, but healthy as a bone marrow donor for perfect stranger.

Not even the looming COVID-19 pandemic would stop her from making sure she could help.

"Everyone would be a little bit nervous, it definitely crossed my mind," Rahe said. "I remember asking my coordinator if the procedure would make me more prone to being impacted by COVID-19, and she said 'no'."

"We weren't sure if they were going to ground flights since it was me and my dad coming with me. We were supposed to fly to Cincinnati and fly back, so we had made the decision we were going to drive to be sure we didn't want to miss it.," Rahe said.

Last month she made the trip and the donation. Though it was for someone else, Rahe said it gave a great gift to her and her family.

"I lost my mom in 2019 in the spring," Rahe said. "This was a pretty rough. When I first got notified I might be a match it kind of brought hope and light into my life. I thought it was an amazing way to honor her, to give and especially to someone I don't even know."

Kelsey's donation was one of 604 transplants facilitated by Be The Match in March, up 21% from March 2019.

You can save a life too right from your couch. Be the Match has a new Couch 2 Cure Campaign, and the simple cheek swab kit comes to you!