Dear Donor


Dear Donor,

You don’t know me (yet), but I am the 24-year old wife of the 25-year old man you are saving. You don’t know us or our story, but I want you to know that our journey to this day, to this transplant, to you has been long awaited.

All I know about you is your age, your gender, and that you either live or have lived in Europe at some point in your young life. I know that you are a 20-year old male with a beautiful and selfless soul. I know that your priorities are so much greater than mine were when I was 20-years old. I know that, for the past seven days, you have gone out of your way to drive to the hospital to get your Neupogen shots to prepare your body for this donation. I know that you will walk away from the hospital after you’ve donated and wonder if you’ve made a difference, and if your bone marrow will actually change someone’s life. I know that the answer to those questions is a resounding “yes.” I know that all you have been told about Andrew is his age and gender. But what else do you know about us? What do you know about the person that you have disrupted your own life to save? Nothing. All that you know is that someone on this earth is very sick and needs help, but that’s enough for you. You know nothing about me, and I know very little about you, but I love you.

Andrew has been battling for nearly two years now; not just cancer, but he has battled to stay alive. He’s battled through endless chemo treatments, a handful of days in a coma, needles constantly poking and prodding him for blood, days full of vomit, and so many sleepless nights. I don’t tell you these things for sympathy; I tell you these things because I need you to know how hard Andrew has fought to get to this transplant. I tell you this because I need you to know that we don’t take you and this gift for granted. We have struggled and fought so hard for this life, and we thank you for the chance to keep fighting.

Without you, we know Andrew is out of “good” treatment options and all we would be left with would be experimental studies. Without you, we would have to accept that the life that we have dreamt together would never be. Without you, I don’t get to become a mommy and Andrew never gets the chance to be called “daddy.” Without you, we don’t get to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Without you, we don’t get to take our kids to Hinkle Fieldhouse and reminisce on dad’s incredible, back-to-back Final Four runs until they are sick of hearing that story. Without you, cancer runs its course in Andrew’s body because it doesn’t care about our future and the moments it threatens to steal from us.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your willingness and thank you for being brave. Thank you for swabbing your cheek and getting on the Bone Marrow Registry, not knowing if anything would ever come from it. I find it absolutely incredible to think that when God made you, He knew the marrow running through the cavities of your bones would some day be saving the life of my husband- your 10/10 match. I think of you often and pray for you daily. It is my greatest hope that you truly grasp the gravity of what you’ve done; you have saved Andrew’s life and for that, I owe you everything.

We hope to meet you someday, but until then, know that you are greatly appreciated and deeply, deeply loved.

Samantha Smith

Andrew’s Bone Marrow Transplant is scheduled for tomorrow, November 6th at 11:00am. He is overall doing well, but certainly starting to feel the nasty effects from the week’s worth of chemotherapy. It seems quite unbelievable that we have not only made it to this day after months of trials and tribulations, but that we have made it to what is going to cure him. It will be years before the doctors ever even consider muttering that word, but we both believe in our hearts that tomorrow is the day that he receives what is going to restore his body. What a gift this is. We hope after reading this open letter to our donor that maybe some of you who have not yet gotten onto the Bone Marrow Registry will consider doing so. It’s not just swabbing your cheek and donating your bone marrow. It’s not just being someone’s hero that day. It’s giving someone the chance to live their life; the chance to have children, to grow old with their spouse, to travel, to laugh, to experience everything that we so often take for granted. Thank you for all of your support and prayers. We have never felt more loved. Please continue to be praying over Andrew tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a beautiful day for a transplant; probably one of my most favorite days ever.

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” (Esther 4:14)

28 thoughts on “Dear Donor

  1. You are such beautiful people. We are with you in prayer the whole way through. We love you. Ali, Chris, and Izzie

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. A beautiful letter from a very grateful wife. Thank you for sharing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Andrew today and everyday!

  3. So beautifully written and so very true! Thanks for sharing your story with us! We are the Joneses from Traders Point Christian Church. We sat right behind the Smith family and watched Curt and Debbie’s little ones grow up along with our 4, who are older. We have been friends and life long admirers for years. And when #44 was a star player at Butler, we were screaming and cheering him on from our living room! We are too old to have our cheeks swabbed and sign up for this program but you have written a beautiful testimony to inspire others to do so. We pray for you both and the family but mainly for Andrew today that this provision from Gods hand will be the tool that brings healing, strength and returned great health for his lifetime back to Andrew again. Our love and prayers are with you, Marcia and Henry Jones

    Sent from my iPhone Marcia


  4. It is three weeks today that I watched my son’s new stem-cells travel into his system. It was God’s miracle. I know you feel the same way, and I know in a few weeks, after the side effects wax and wane, you and Andrew will be out of the hospital. Prayers for you both! Bobbie Boehlke

  5. You do not know me either & I only know you from Butler basketball & your wonderful faith filled blog… But we do know the same God who has & is providing for your lives. Praying for God’s blessings & peace as you enter one more phase together.

  6. Praying!! Thankful for your witness through all this. I am a nonHodgkins victor. My battle was 1998. There are no survivors – only victors! And truly, there are no losers for those in Christ Jesus – only victors. That was my battle cry then and it still is. I love that you two demonstrate 2Timothy 1:7 in all of this. You are Warriors blessed with power, love and self-discipline and void of timidity. Keep up the Good Fight!

  7. Thank you for sharing your journey with us through this blog. Happy New Birthday Andrew! We are praying for you today!

  8. Andrew, You, and his entire family are in our thoughts and prayers. I have always felt that Andrew would be able to endure this and make a full recovery. Your faith in God is amazing!! Denny&Paula Ison

  9. Wrapping u both with prayers n love..
    Know you both r love and thought of
    Daily….Blessing n healing for you both
    Always…..Love us all…

  10. We haven’t met, and maybe never will, but I am a Butler Grad (’05) and 5 months ago today my sister-in-law received a bone marrow transplant through Be the Match to treat her Leukemia. I’m thankful for what Be the Match does. There are no words for what they have done for my family, and your’s. Sending lots of love and positive vibes for you and Andrew as you continue your fights.

  11. Sending our Love ,prayers knowing everything is going to be alright. Everything works to gather for those who love The Lord. Love you two . Poppy, Mammaw and Uncle Joe.

  12. Happy Rebirth Day Andrew! Your witnessing to God is so powerful despite all you have been through. I am praying for your complete recovery as well as for the young man that gave you this gift of life.
    May you continue to feel His presence surrounding you with peace, love, strength, and healing.

    God Bless.

  13. I was fortunate enough to be a donor almost two years ago, and I probably never realized until reading your letter how much it must’ve meant to the male American in his early 20’s, who I know nothing about but who shares my blood since December 2013. Thank you so much for that.

    My prayers are with you, Andrew, and I hope you’ll make a full recovery again, so that all your dreams and wishes will come true.

    All the best from Germany!

  14. My prayers will be with you your husband. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles. It has touched me very much. I gave my wife my kidney so she could live. God bless you

  15. This is such a beautiful article and I have the other side to it! I was the bone marrow donor who joined the registry to save someone’s life! Within one year of swabbing my cheek I was sitting in a hospital bed donating my stem cells! I remember the days of giving myself the neupogen shots and dealing with the bone pain, but that was nothing! I would go through the pain again to save someone’s life! I wonder all of these questions about my recipient and hope that when the year hits I will be able to meet them! Not only was I a bone marrow transplant donor and match I am a bone marrow transplant nurse!! I see what each of these patients goes through in order to receive their transplant and the process after receiving their transplant! Each and every patient I’ve had is amazing!! I love my job!! My prayers are with you through this journey!!

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with you..I wish you comfort from the pain, strength to fight your fight, guidance for your physicians and the love of family and friends to support your every need.

  17. I wanted to tell you that on November 5th, you posted this blog and a mutual friend shared it. I read it and immediately registered on About a week later I swabbed my cheek and off it went. January 9th I was notified that my swab had been processed and my Be the Match registration card would be in the mail soon. Two days ago, on January 20th, after only officially being on the registry for 11 days, I received an email telling me I’m a potential match for a patient. A million different thoughts went through my mind after reading the email, but I couldn’t help thinking how I have been given an amazing opportunity to change, or even save, a person’s life. I know the transplant ended up not being able to save Andrew, but I wanted to tell you that because of your post you’ve given other families hope and possibly more time together. Prayers for you during this tough time. -Leann

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