Mariah Sika – Stem Cell Donor


This year 21-year-old Mariah Sika didn't mind staying indoors on a beautiful late-September day; she was busy saving a life. Four years after joining the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) Be The Match Registry®, the Traverse City, Michigan native was told she was a potential bone marrow match for a woman she has never met. The stranger has Myelodysplastic Syndrome and her blood stem cells do not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. The immature blood cells die in the bone marrow or shortly after entering the blood. Her only hope for a cure may be a bone marrow transplant from Sika. None of the woman’s family members provide a match, so her physicians turned to the NMDP Be the Match® Registry.

After additional tests and shots to release stem cells from her bone marrow so that they could be collected non-surgically, Mariah arrived at Michigan Blood’s Grand Rapids facility to do something extraordinary – save a life.

Mariah donated her stem cells on September 27, 2012 through a process called apheresis. Then those lifesaving stem cells were on their way to the waiting patient. Today, she is back at Adrian College for her senior year and “feels wonderful.” She encourages others to join the Registry because “there are so many patients out there that are waiting for a bone marrow or stem cell donation, many of which don't have adirect match from family, and they are left to wait and see if there is a match on the National Marrow Registry. If more people signed up, more patients would be able to have a chance to match with a potential donor, and in turnmore people are able to help out someone in need.”

Thank you, Mariah – you truly are a life saver!