Saving woman's life was peak experience for New Hampshire resident

Top Quote Marrow donor encourages others to join the registry through his ham radio broadcasts. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) January 25, 2017 - When Chris Read and his wife Amy walked into the 40th Annual New Hampshire Camping and RV Show in March 2012, they were greeted at the door by a Gift of Life Marrow Registry volunteer. A donor recruitment drive was in progress, and after learning about the need for new bone marrow and blood stem cell donors, they swabbed their cheeks and joined on the spot.

    "I always hoped I'd be matched with a patient, but it's like winning the lottery, so you only dream about it," said Chris. "Helping someone in need is what we all want to do, so when I got the call it was awesome." That call came in July 2016, when Chris learned he was a potential match for a 38-year-old woman with leukemia. He hoped that the next step, a blood test, would confirm that he was a perfect match, and it did.

    Chris went to a collection center in Virginia to donate, supported by his wife Amy and his Gift of Life coordinator. "The process was laid out for me with no surprises. Was it easy? Yes! Gift of Life did everything for me. If I can do it, anyone can," said Chris.

    An amateur ham radio operator, Chris often talks about his donation experience on the air to encourage others to join the registry. He says he's gotten great feedback, especially from others who belong to bone marrow registries and hopes they will also have the opportunity to donate. He and his wife are exploring partnerships with organizations in New Hampshire, including a local baseball team, to host donor recruitment and awareness days with Gift of Life.

    When asked if he would donate again, Chris said, "No need to ask - sign me up now!" He emphasizes how rewarding it is to know that you've saved someone's life: "I feel so awesome inside for having this opportunity to give the gift of life. It is a heartwarming experience and I hope everyone gets to do it."

    Chris works in construction for a cable TV company, and in his free time he enjoys ham radio operation, motorcycling and fabrication. A former long-distance truck driver, he has logged close to two million miles, and as a New Hampshireman he enjoys being high up in the White Mountains, including visiting the famous summit of Mt. Washington. He and wife Amy have two children.

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