When graduate student Kaitlin Hines received the call that she had been matched as a potential bone marrow donor, she couldn’t have been more surprised.
“I felt like I was dreaming. When I signed up (to donate) at Purdue University in 2009, I remember thinking ‘This will never be me,’” the Munster resident said.
But last August, Hines received a call and learned that she was a potential match for a 42-year-old woman with leukemia.
“I made the decision to go further. About two months later, I received a call that I was the best match for that woman in need of a transplant,” she said.
On Oct. 29, Hines arrived for the procedure at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.
“I was hooked to two IVs for about six-and-a-half hours. During that time, my blood was extracted from an IV in my left arm, went through a big machine to separate the stem cells, and got placed back through another IV in my right arm,” she said.
“The five days leading up to the actual procedure involved getting two shots per day to increase my white blood cell count, which is what they were removing my stem cells from.”
Despite the effort involved, Hines does not regret her choice. “I never looked at the situation as an option. I truly felt that it was my time to give back and help someone in need.
“I told myself that no matter what the procedure entailed, the person who needed my donation was going through far worse,” she said.
Although Hines is not permitted to contact the recipient until a year has passed, she recently received news that the woman was recovering remarkably well, and would be released from the hospital earlier than expected.
“I cannot describe the feeling of knowing my bone marrow donation was successful. It is one of the best feelings I could ever imagine,” she said.
Hines, 22, will continue to help others when she graduates from Purdue University in 2014 with a master’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.
“I would like working in a major hospital to enable children to improve their speech, language, and swallowing abilities and enhance their ability to communicate,” she said.
The daughter of Jeff and Jennifer Hines, she is an active volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Greater Lafayette Area Special Services. She is also a member of Suncrest Christian Church in St. John.
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