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A story of hope and recovery

With the current state of our world, I want to check in with you. These times can feel dark, but we must lean in and look for the light – the moments of hope and grace.

I’ve been incredibly inspired by the outpouring of love and support from friends and neighbors – as well as from all those showing up to support those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m inspired to share my own story of hope. One that started in 1999. As a fresh-faced intern at the Oregon state capitol, I participated in a blood drive and agreed to be included in the Be the Match program for bone marrow donors. I didn’t think much about it after that.

Until two years later. I got a surprise phone call telling me that I was a perfect match for a seven-year-old girl in Massachusetts fighting for her life.

So, nineteen years ago this week, I went in for an operation where they inserted a long needle into my lower back and withdrew bone marrow for a very sick little girl who had been in quarantine for months and whose prognosis was dark.

By the time I woke up, my bone marrow was on a plane to Massachusetts.

Two years later, I received a birthday card from that same little girl. Over the years, Chrissy and I have stayed in touch, and in January, we finally met in person. I introduced her on the floor of the Oregon Senate and told her story.

Yesterday, Chrissy sent me this wonderful message:

"Very thankful for everything you went through to give me a second chance at life and also very thankful I got to meet you this year."

As Oregonians, when we’re faced with hard times, we step up. Every time. So I’m asking you to step up one more time.

  • As we face a global health crisis, our blood reserve is running low. If you are eligible, sign up to give blood right now through the Red Cross.
  • You can also sign up to Be the Match for people diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Stay home. For people like Chrissy. Children suffering from cancer are some of the most at-risk populations for exposure to COVID-19. Please stay home to ensure you're not unknowingly hurting those with serious illnesses.
  • Share your story of hope on Facebook.

In difficult times, we must rise to the challenge and do what seems the hardest thing to do right now – as much as possible, we must stay home.

I hope you will join me in doing your part to contain this pandemic.

Stay safe. Be well.


Posted on March 31, 2020.