Becky Dame works at Moffitt Cancer Center doing what she knows best – talking about cancer and bone marrow transplants.
Life experience has helped make her an expert. At 18, she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.
“In 1991, there were no other treatment options. It was either a bone marrow transplant or nothing. And so without it, the doctors gave me two to five years,” she said, “and five was very generous.”
Becky has numerous siblings, and one sister was a match. The transplant worked for a while. But after her fifth relapse, doctors decided to try a different donor.
“That's when we went to the national bone marrow registry and Be The Match,” she said. “It was pretty quick.”
Along this 23-year journey, Becky decided to become a nurse. She applied at Moffitt Cancer Center and has been working in its bone marrow section ever since.
“I believe I’m hope for my patients and even hope for my coworkers as well, because unfortunately there are still many negative pieces to transplants,” she said. “It doesn't work for everyone.”
But Becky represents two decades of success.
So she's been asked to share her story with legislators in Washington D.C., delivering living proof that federal funding of Be The Match, the world’s largest nonprofit focused on finding donors and saving lives through transplantation, should continue.
“They should know that it is very important in our society that this option is out there for people,” she said.
Since 1996, Be The Match has facilitated more than 1,500 transplants in Florida. And in 2012, Florida ranked fifth in the nation for the number of patients searching for a match.
It’s relatively easy to become a donor. Visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1-800 MARROW-2.
You learn more about Moffitt’s bone marrow transplant program here .