Nathan HansenWhen Nathan Hansen, RN, was still in nursing school at the State College of Florida, he often used YouTube videos to help him study. While watching videos one day, he saw a story about a young man who got the call to donate bone marrow to help save someone’s life. At the time, Hansen didn’t know it, but one day, he too would get that call.

Hansen, who works in the operating room at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Florida, says that after seeing the video, he was moved. “I regularly donate blood and wanted to immediately sign up to be on the list to donate bone marrow,” recalls Hansen. “I wanted to get the call, but I didn’t really expect to.”

After signing up to be a bone marrow donor through Be the Match, the largest bone marrow donation registry, which is run by the National Marrow Donor Program, Hansen went about his life. As he said, he didn’t think he would get called. A few years later, though, Hansen’s phone rang, and he was told that he was a match for a 13-year-old boy in Washington, DC, who needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

When Be the Match contacted Hansen, they still gave him a choice. Just because he signed up to be a donor didn’t mean that he absolutely had to. But for Hansen, it was a no-brainer. “I was excited to get the call and definitely wanted to help in any way,” he says.

After going through many lab draws and physicals, Hansen headed to Washington, DC in June 2017, about four months after getting that first call—and he used his Paid Time Off to do it. “Again, this was a no-brainer,” Hansen says. Be the Match covered his travel and accommodations.

Hansen has never met the recipient whose life he saved, as this information is kept confidential. He had no pain post-op, and he says that he was only a little uncomfortable, much like you would feel with muscle soreness.

Because of his compassion, Hansen was nominated to be the New Nurse of the Year at Blake Medical Center—and he won. “I was honored even to be nominated,” he says. “So I was elated when I actually won.”

“I would absolutely do it all over again, and I think that others should sign up too,” says Hansen.

For more information on becoming a bone marrow donor, go to www.BeTheMatch.org.

Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

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