As a first-year student at Elon, Jerome Lewis ’10 made a life-saving decision — to register with Be the Match to potentially become a bone marrow donor.
This week, the Pi Kappa Phi alumnus was able to meet for the first time in person the woman whose life was saved by that decision. Lewis joined 22-year-old Jada Lucas of Birmingham, Alabama, at Children’s of Alabama hospital as part of the hospital’s activities to commemorate September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
The hospital notes that Lucas was just nine years old when she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells for the body. Lucas became a candidate for a bone marrow transplant after receiving multiple treatments throughout her life.
It was in 2017 — 11 years after Lewis, who now lives in Philadelphia, registered with Be the Match while an Elon student — that he was informed that his bone marrow was a match for Lucas, and he committed to becoming a donor.
“In the field we work in, seeing a patient meet their donor is an actual realization of the work we do on a daily basis,” said Melissa Wallace, bone marrow transplant coordinator at Children’s of Alabama. “It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine, but being able to see the process full circle is amazing,” she said. “No words can describe what it is like witnessing this opportunity—it will change your life forever.”
Before meeting Lewis, Lucas said, “I cannot wait to tell him thank you for seeing me as being worthy of a second chance at life.”
Children’s of Alabama streamed their meeting live on Facebook — you can view it here.