During this season of giving, Colin Lott has a lot to be thankful for. His favorite team, the Indiana Pacers, is having a record-setting year and his personal hero, Pacers center Roy Hibbert, recently dedicated a game in honor of Lott.
“I’m speechless- that means a lot to me,” said Lott.
The 22-year old from Cicero, Ind. found himself in IU Health University Hospital recently- and not because he was ill. He was donating stem cells, thanks to inspiration from his hero, Roy Hibbert. In 2011, Hibbert was on his way to Sacramento to grant a wish for a 12-year old fan with leukemia named Lee Eddins. Tragically, Eddins died before Hibbert could meet him, but instead, the NBA star met with the boy’s family and became an advocate for bone marrow donation. Part of that advocacy included Hibbert urging his fan club, “Area 55,” to register at a donor drive with Be The Match.
“I look up to Roy,” said Lott. “Literally, because he’s so tall, and also because he’s a good person. I wanted to support him.”
Lott attended the drive, and after a simple cheek swab and a few medical questions, joined the Be The Match registry. A couple months ago, Lott was notified that he was a match. Donations of stem cells and bone marrow go to help patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other diseases.
“Thankfully, I was the closest match and I’m able to help,” said Lott. “It’s very rewarding to know that you’re going to be able to help somebody.”
Lott spent a Monday at IU Health University Hospital, donating stem cells with the bone marrow transplant team. A needle in his right arm drew his blood into a machine, which separated the stem cells and returned the blood back to a needle in his left arm.
“It doesn’t hurt at all- just a pinch when the needle goes in,” explained Lott. “Leading up to today, I had some blood drawn and I received injections for five days, but it was mostly painless.”
To prepare, donors like Lott receive injections of a medication to stimulate bone marrow production of stem cells into the blood stream. He says the process was simple, painless, and he encourages others to join the registry. In fact, during his donation, Lott’s girlfriend also joined the Be The Match registry. He says donating his stem cells has been a positive experience.
“It’s very cool to know that I’m helping out a stranger in need,” said Lott, of his anonymous recipient. “I wrote a letter to send to them. I just told them that I’d be praying for them and told them that they’re not alone in this fight. God’s working on something for them.”
For more information on donating bone marrow or stem cells, visit BeTheMatch.org.