It’s an annoying and pervasive consequence of any online presence. Recently I’ve received a string of spammy e-mails. By one strategy or another they all ask me to click on some link or provide my personal details. Some come through the hacked e-mail addresses of friends asking me to wire money to help them out of a crisis in some remote part of the world. Some have seemingly come from my bank (complete with logo) claiming that it needs to verify my account information for security reasons. My favorite came last month from Mrs. Hosni Mubarak (yes, that Mubarak) asking me to manage her $50,000,000 (!?!) and would I please supply my name, address, social security number and bank account information. Oh, and a scanned copy of my passport would be useful.
DELETE. DELETE. DELETE
Last week I got one asking me to “click on the link below” because I was a possible match for a patient who needs a bone marrow transplant. How low can they go?
Not so fast!
Yesterday, I received a letter from the National Marrow Donor Program restating that I had been identified as a potential match for a needed bone marrow transplant.
About twenty years ago, after the toddler daughter of a friend had been diagnosed with leukemia, I had participated in and registered at a bone marrow donor drive. Registering is a quick and painless matter of giving a blood sample and filling out a few forms. Most people treat it like stating they’re an organ donor on their driver’s license – tick the box and forget about it. The odds of being asked are relatively low. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, only one in 540 registered donors will be identified as a potential match.
Though I’ve been contacted, the process is still in the initial stages and more screening needs to be done. Perhaps another donor would be a better match. Maybe I’m too old. There are a myriad of conditions that could rule me out.
I’m ambivalent about being a donor. I’ve known only one person who has had a bone marrow transplant. Because someone registered as a donor and followed through with the process, ten years on he’s healthy and free of the disease that almost took his life. I hope this patient finds the perfect match and the transplant is successful. But, and I’m not proud of this, I also hope the perfect match is someone other than me. In the online forms I filled out I agreed to donate but can change my mind at any time. Will I donate? yes. A very small and quiet “yes” because I’m not a hero and, frankly, the process scares me.
To learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program visit: http://bethematch.org/Home.aspx