Treston, inspired by his sister’s need, registered as a bone marrow donor and gave the gift of life.
Most of the donors who come through the doors at Memorial Blood Centers roll up a sleeve to give blood. However, about once a week MBC welcomes a different type of donor—one who rolls up both sleeves to give a highly specialized donation of bone marrow or blood stem cells.
When Treston Dudek’s sister developed leukemia as a teenager, his biggest wish was to donate his bone marrow to help her kick blood cancer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a match. Thankfully, his sister made a full recovery after 64 blood transfusions and chemotherapy treatments.
In March of 2020, Treston realized that while he may not be a match for his sister, he may be a match for someone else. He registered with a marrow donation organization and in 2021 he received the call—he was a match for a patient in need.
“Getting that call felt like being summoned for superhero duty,” Treston said. “I had no idea how long it would take for me to match with a patient—if ever—and I can’t believe it happened so quickly.”
Donors who enroll with a marrow registry receive a cheek swab kit in the mail. Once they return the kit, they’re entered into the registry and wait to become a match for a patient in need. Some wait months, like Treston. Others wait years, or may never get the call that they’re a match for a patient.
Before joining the marrow registry, Treston donated blood regularly at his church’s blood drives. “I’ve always been excited to help save lives. Donating through my church in Rosemount satisfied that need for a long time, and I’m going to keep doing it. But joining the marrow registry felt like a way for me to kick it up a notch.”
As a marrow and stem cell collection site, MBC is equipped to collect the highly specialized products in partnership with organizations like Be The Match and DKMS. Donations are arranged by the specific registry in collaboration with a patient’s need. At MBC, these donations take place in a separate donation room under the supervision of specially trained professionals.
“When I joined the registry, I knew from my experience with my sister that I could make a difference not only for a patient somewhere, but also for their whole family,” Treston said. “Signing up was the best thing I could have done.”
Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at About Blood.