JenandKidsNRWhen Jennifer Jonsgaard ran in a local race eight years ago, she had no idea it would one day lead to the opportunity to change the life of a complete stranger.

Jonsgaard, who serves as the Scholarship Coordinator at WSU, was swabbed for bone marrow donations back in 2006 while participating in the annual Fool’s Five Road Race for cancer research in Lewiston, Minn. In October 2014, she received a letter saying she could be a possible match.

Further testing confirmed that she was indeed the best match for a woman in need of a bone marrow donation, and this summer she went in to make her donation.

Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure that takes place in a hospital operating room. Doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone. Donors are given anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation.

One of the most difficult parts of the experience is the waiting, said Jonsgaard. First waiting to make the donation, and now waiting to see if it was successful. A confidentiality agreement prevents contact and information exchange between Jonsgaard and the recipient for two years.

It will be difficult not knowing immediately whether the donation was successful, said Jonsgaard, but knowing that she had the opportunity to make a difference for this woman is more than enough.

“She probably has children, so that was a big impact on my decision,” Jonsgaard said. “Being the mom of a 6 year old and an 8 year old, if I were in that position, I would really want and hope someone would donate to me so I could live longer for my kids and my family.”

While the journey was sometimes difficult, the decision to donate was an easy one for Jonsgaard.

“If I’m healthy enough to do it, it’s just something that I should do,” Jonsgaard said. “It really doesn’t cost you anything, and somebody else really needs it.”

WSU will host a bone marrow registry donation drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 through Thursday, Oct. 22. For more information visit the WSU news blog.

For more information contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.

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Samantha Stetzer

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