He Called!! – A CLL Patient Story

Disclaimer: This blog post has been republished with permission from the author. To visit the original blog site, click here.

Written by Tamara Fowler

June 10.   My stem cell coordinator called today.  They finally made contact with my donor.  Rather he finally contacted them back saying it was ok to tell me who he is. So I’m about to send the letter I wrote over a year ago to Mr. Richard M. of Massachusetts!  Thank you for saving my life!!


June 11.   He called me this morning!  He read my letter and my ENTIRE blog last night!  What an awesome conversation! It’s like having a brand new old friend.


Richard is a mailman, father of two.  His girlfriend is a nurse.  His daughter works oversees with children.  His son is in the medical field in the NE as well.  He has only been to Texas while on a flight stopover in Dallas!  He was given many opportunities to change his mind after finding out that he was a perfect match for me, but he never did.  He kept going.

How do you thank a complete stranger for giving you a second chance at life?  Are there enough words?  Fortunately, stem cell donation does not require the same TOTAL commitment as organ donation!!  But it IS a commitment!  He had to take time off work, take certain meds, and undergo some uncomfortable days and recuperation time.  And he did that for a complete stranger with no idea of whether or not it would work.

It did, Richard.  There have been a few hiccups, but it’s working.  This is about how long they would have given me without the transplant.  And I’m still here!!  I have seen another grandchild born.  Had another anniversary.  Spent time with family and friends.  And I have simply loved living every single day that God gives me.

And that’s what I plan to continue doing.  One day, one prayer, one step at a time.

Thank you, Richard.  Thank you for giving me back my life.

About the Author:

My name is Tamara Joy Fowler and, in the summer of 2011, I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia with 17p deletion, ZAP 70 positive, IGHV unmutated. This all came as quite a shock!  I was a healthy, happy 50 year-old lady who ate right, exercised, and took Geritol everyday.  Just kidding about the Geritol, but you get the idea.  I have been married since 2010 to my high school sweetheart and have had every intention of living and loving to a ripe old age.  I still do.  There just seems to be some complications that have to be taken care of first.  This is the story of our journey.  It is “our” journey because I am not alone.  My sweet husband Paul, our children and grandchildren, and our entire family and many friends are part of this journey.  Each one touches my life in a different way, and I have had the blessing and opportunity to be a part of theirs.  I am one of God’s children and rest my faith and trust in Him.  I have seen miracles galore over the years.  I, and thankfully many others, am praying for one more.


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