Bone marrow donor proud he gave, would donate again
March 18, 2011
- Soldier and former Marine saved a life with bone marrow donation; would do it again.
- DoD program registers donors and matches national databases.
- People near Fort Hood can register at the Robertson Blood Center.
FORT HOOD, Texas, March 10, 2011 -- Sgt. Albert M. Cusimano can be sure that he saved at least one life. Less than one year after registering with the C.W. "Bill" Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program, Cusimano received notice that his marrow was needed.
Although he now serves with the Army, Cusimano was part of the First Marine Division when he registered for the bone marrow program in 2003. At the time, registration required that a potential donor contribute a tube of blood to the program, but the methodology has since changed to make the process easier, requiring only a few mouth swabs and a single form.
It was not long after his registration before Cusimano was contacted by the program and a marrow donation date was set.
"My command sergeant major and first sergeant helped me a lot," said Cusimano. "After we started the process it was canceled when it looked like the recipient would respond to oral medicine. Later, they e-mailed me and restarted the process. I donated bone marrow to a 21-year-old kid."
Cusimano and his wife, Alisha, were flown to Walter Reed Military Army Hospital for the procedure. Although most marrow donors undergo a more modern process, his donation was harvested in an older, surgical procedure.
"I was sore and a bit weak, but still enjoyed myself," said Cusimano.
Like all marrow donors, Cusimano was given the VIP treatment in appreciation of their sacrifice.
"We toured the House of Representatives and were set up like VIPs by the [Department of Defense] program office," he said.
Now assigned to the 61st Multi-Function Medical Battalion, in the 21st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, Cusimano did not hesitate when asked if he would consider donating again.
"I'd do it again quicker than you can breathe. I'd be there again. I've already re-registered and re-swabbed," said Cusimano.
At Fort Hood, any Soldier, family member or veteran can register for the Department of Defense program at the Robertson Blood Center during normal operating hours by inquiring at the front desk.
To learn more about the Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program, visit www.dodmarrow.org.
To find out more about the Armed Services Blood Program or to make an appointment, please visit us online: www.militaryblood.dod.mil.
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