Jeremiah Applebury, 22, a Chillicothe High School graduate, was recently flown to Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C. to donate his bone marrow.
Jeremiah Applebury, 22, a Chillicothe High School graduate, was recently flown to Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C. to donate his bone marrow. Applebury donated blood for the first time last fall at the University of Missouri, where he is majoring in agricultural business. At the blood drive, he was asked if he’d like to consider donating bone marrow. A cotton swab was used to collect a sample. “It (donating bone marrow) was just a random, spur of the moment thing,” Applebury said. “It was a question they asked me after I donated (blood).” Applebury said he didn’t know much about the process of donating bone marrow, but a friend encouraged him to do it. Once he learned there was a small chance of him being asked to actually donate and that he would be saving a life if he was selected, he said it was a “no brainer.” Upon arriving at Georgetown Hospital, Applebury said he underwent a fairly new procedure method that has been out for about 20 years. This procedure didn’t require surgery; just the use of a dialysis machine. “Basically, a dialysis needle was placed in my dominate arm and a catheter was placed in the other,” Applebury explained. “The machine would then take my blood out of the dominate arm into the machine where it would collect the blood cells and then distribute the blood back into the arm with the catheter. The dominate arm I couldn’t move until the procedure was done.” Applebury said the procedure lasted six hours when typically they last three to five. He said this was due to his body doing better than most at rejecting some of the prior preparations to get his blood cell count to spike (as most people’s do). Five days prior to the donation he was injected twice a day everyday with protein forming drugs that significantly increased his white blood cells, he explained. He said the procedure wasn’t so much painful as it was uncomfortable, sometimes with the bigger needles. Doctors made sure the discomfort was at a minimum by giving him pain killers. Applebury said this process was a “whirlwind of experiences.” It was his first time flying in an airplane and “experiencing some of the common adult experiences people go through themselves, such as, checking into a hotel or engaging in conversation with the locals (while visiting places),” he explained. “Donating bone marrow to most of the recipients is their final stand against cancer,” Applebury said. “They have already gone through everything possible or at least most the other treatments to try to cure their cancer and it has failed. A bone marrow donor gives the recipient a 65 percent chance to survive their cancer and live a normal life again.” “It is a great and rewarding opportunity to be selected to donate your bone marrow; it’s not all about saving your biological match’s life but rather creating experiences and journeys in your own life that matter and make differences.” Applebury said he would donate again if he need arose and encourages others to think about making a difference in this way.