East Bridgewater mom a 'hero’ for donating bone marrow day before Thanksgiving
Lisa Sacks has a good reason for missing her son’s Thanksgiving Day football game this year. She will be recovering from surgery to help save a man’s life.
“If it was somebody in my family that was sick, I would be praying for somebody to do something,” said Sacks, 50, who was scheduled to donate her bone marrow this morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Her bone marrow will be given to a 54-year-old man in New York who has severe aplastic anemia, a potentially life-threatening disease in which the bone marrow stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets for the body, Sacks said.
This morning, Sacks was to be placed under anesthesia while doctors surgically withdraw liquid marrow from the back of her pelvic bones using special, hollow needles, Sacks said.
Sacks, a married mother of two, said she had forgotten that she had joined the registry of DKMS Americas, a bone marrow donor center based in New York, during a drive at her workplace in Waltham in August 2007. At the time, a tissue sample was taken from Sacks’ cheek with the simple swipe of a cotton swab.
“About six weeks ago, I got a FedEx package in the mail, and they said I was a match (for someone),” said Sacks, a mapping technician for National Grid in Waltham.
She tried to schedule the procedure at a later date, but doctors of the recipient of her bone marrow urged that the procedure be done on Wednesday, she said.
“What are you going to do? I didn’t go on the registry so I could say ‘no’ when they needed me,” Sacks said.
She will stay in the hospital overnight, causing her to miss watching her son, Michael, one of four captains of Easton’s Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School football team, play in his last Thanksgiving Day game.
Southeastern (5-5) faces South Shore Voke on Thursday, and if they win that game, and league leader Bristol-Plymouth loses, the two teams would share the Mayflower Large title.
“I think she’s being a hero pretty much,” Michael Sacks, 17, said of his mother. “She’s going to miss my game, but that’s fine, she’ll be saving somebody’s life. She’s doing a great thing.”
His sister, Kelly, echoed his comments.
“It’s incredible,” said Kelly Sacks, 14, a freshman at East Bridgewater High School. “I’m so proud. I’m really happy that she’s doing it. She’s giving so much for someone who doesn’t have what they need.”
On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the Be the Match Registry for a life-saving donor, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.
Through a tissue sample taken from the cheek with the simple swipe of a cotton swab, participants can join the Be the Match Registry, which accesses more than 12 million donors and cord blood banks worldwide.
To register, one must be between 18 and 60 years old and in good general health.
Every year, more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma, and their best or only hope for a cure is a transplant from an unrelated donor or cord blood unit, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.
Sacks plans on having Thanksgiving dinner with her family later in the day on Thursday.
“We’re getting Stop n’ Shop,” she said. “Hey, at least I don’t have to cook this year.”
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Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at email@example.com.