Brian Hardy is donating bone marrow stem cells to help give his brothers a chance at a cure.
When it comes to sick family members there's almost nothing you wouldn't do to help take the pain away. One Sioux Falls man is proving that; two times over.
Brian Hardy may be in a hospital bed, but he's not sick, he's saving lives
"I don't really like needles but it's definitely worth the result and I'm really pleased to be able to do this." Said Hardy.
Brian is donating his bone marrow stem cells. For this farmer, donation was an easy decision. You see, he's giving his brother a chance at a cure.
"My brother Darryl was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and he's been fighting for his life since the beginning of May." Said Hardy.
Brian's cells are a perfect match for Daryl. In the past, donating would be a long surgical procedure to extract Brian's bone marrow and then remove the stem cells. Now it's much simpler.
"The process of donation right now has become just like giving a pint of blood." Said Dr. Ahmed Galal, a hematologist with the Avera Medical Group Hematology and Transplant.
Doctors are now able to pull these life-saving cells directly from Brian's blood stream.
"It's going into the machine and there's a centrifuge in there spinning around and it separates the blood into different layers what we're pulling off is the stem cell layer and then we're giving him back the rest of his blood." Said Lacey Roberts, the Avera bone marrow transplant manager.
All it takes is a few shots a couple of days before the donation process to get the cells out of the marrow and into the blood.
"I liken that, the farmer in me, to fertilizer, and today they're doing the harvest,they're doing the combining, and then tomorrow I understand they'll be replanting these cells in my brother Daryl." Said Hardy.
But that's just the first harvest, there's someone else getting Brian's stem cells.
"As it turns out, for two of my brothers I'm a perfect match, 10 for 10 on the point scale." Said Hardy.
Brian's other brother, Denny is fighting Myelodisplastic Syndrome which can be a precursor to Leukemia. It's a condition that can also be cured with a stem cell transplant.
"One day of harvest today for Darryl and tomorrow will be a harvest for Denny." Said Hardy.
The Hardy boys sure have luck on their side. Siblings only have a 1 in 4 chance of being a match. Brian is perfect for both.
"It's just luck, these are higher power kind of arrangements that no one can interfere with, it's great!" Said Dr. Galal.
Without Brian, his brothers would be put on the donor registry and be forced to wait.
"That way, things would take probably between 3 to 6 months to identify a donor and usually with their situation and their disease there's not the luxury to wait to get the stem cells." Said Dr. Galal.
With Brian's donation, both Daryl and Denny can start down the road to recovery much sooner. That means Brian will have his hunting and golfing partners back before to long. For every story like the Hardy's, unfortunately there are countless others still waiting for a life-saving donation.
"I would urge anybody who's thinking about the possibility of becoming a donor to sign up because this is saving lives and it's the most important thing they could do." Said Hardy.
All it takes is giving a few hours of your time, but you are giving someone the most important gift of all: life.
Stem cell collection transplants have proven to be just as effective as the previous methods and have shown quicker recoveries for both the patient and donor. For more information on becoming a donor or to join the registry click here or just call 877-AT-AVERA.