At DEF CON 22, I signed up at the Be The Match booth to be a bone marrow donor. I didn’t really think much about it. I noticed the booth while waiting in line for my Vegas 2.0 badge. I attempted to participate in the Blood Kode, but was still recovering from a cold and was disqualified. I’d never paid attention to bone marrow donation prior to this. The sign up for Be The Match was a cheek swab.
Two months later, October, I received a call from Be The Match indicating I was potentially a match and they would like me to have a blood test to further determine my compatibility. I had the test. Two months later, December, I received a second call indicating I was a full match and if I was willing to go forward with the donation via hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. I agreed.
The next step was a physical including more blood tests to make sure I was physically capable of donating. After the physical results were returned, a donation was scheduled. It was a 5 day process. On each of the first 4 days, I had injections of Filgrastim. On the fifth day is the donation. During the first 4 days, I encountered joint pain in my hips and back. That appears to be extremely common.
The fifth day was the donation. I went to the hospital handling the donation. It is basically dialysis for a few hours. They hooked me up to the machine, then I sat there for 6 hours while the process occurred. I still had joint pain for 24 hours after the donation, but the pain has gone away.
Am I the first DEF CON attendee to donate? I don’t know. I tweeted @_defcon_, but they haven’t responded.