Most people know that donating blood is a lifesaving act that too few eligible Americans perform. Perhaps even less known is the lifesaving act of donating bone marrow.

The story of Rhonda Walker Christensen, a 1981 Brownwood High School graduate living in Dallas who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia two years ago, is a reminder of that fact Ė and itís a reminder with a happy ending.

Christensen received a series of chemotherapy treatments until her doctors decided on a bone marrow transplant. A potential donor was identified in California, and she was a graduate student who had placed herself on the donor registry in 2002.

Itís not often that someone has an opportunity to do something that makes a life-changing difference Ė much less, a lifesaving difference Ė in someoneís life. Being donor of blood, blood plasma and bone marrow provides that opportunity.

The donor, Elizabeth Jordan, said she had volunteered to be a donor as college sophomore when another student in her residence hall was being treated for cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant. The call to help didnít come for several years, but Jordan stood ready to fulfill that promise.

One byproduct of the donation is the way the families of the two women became close. Another byproduct is the awareness that their story provides to others about the need for, and the importance of, bone marrow donors.

Drives such as the ones described in the story donít happen often enough. But information is available from medical providers, and through www.marrow.org.

Brownwood Bulletin