What started as a simple service project led University of Florida Delta Chi Ian Gardner to fly back and forth from Washington D.C., sacrifice his spring break plans, and help save an elderly man’s life.
As part of a recent service project for the Gift of Life registry, Ian Gardner and a few other brothers volunteered to have body samples taken for a national waiting list of hopeful bone marrow transplant recipients. The idea was to build up the database on the small chance there would be a match between a potential bone marrow donor and a patient. Gardner admitted that when he did it he didn’t really expect to be called. When he did a few months later he was still ready to help out.
“I feel like it’s an obligation,” Gardner said. “I knew what I was getting myself into and it gives the possibility of saving a guy’s life. You can’t say no to that.”
Gardner was contacted by Gift of Life four months ago. That began a series of blood drawings and tests to see if he was the best potential donor. Then a final round of exams including disease checks, EKG scans and lung X-rays to make sure he was fit for the surgery. All the while he had to keep his body in top condition, including staying away from alcohol. A few days before the procedure he began receiving chemicals to boost his white blood cell production. On Monday, he began the four-hour process of having his blood removed and treated to be ready for donation.
All this happened without Gardner getting to see or even know the identity of the recipient. Gardner said all he knows is that the recipient is a 60-year-old man with leukemia. The donated marrow will be used to hopefully help him rebuild missing parts of his body and potentially even safe his life.
In the meantime, Gardner is gearing up for UF’s Dance Marathon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and continuing to advocate others to help out with the Gift of Life Foundation and bone marrow transplants.
“It’s a really easy way to make a substantial difference in a life,” Gardner said. “It’s definitely worth it.”