People think of superheroes from comic books. They wear capes and save the world. For a child or adult with blood cancer, not all superheroes wear capes. In fact, for a 21-year-old Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry recipient, it was a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi.
At the urging of his friend, Justin, whose family member passed away from leukemia, Brother Jason Delman (Drexel, 2004) got swabbed at a synagogue event two years ago. “My mother has been on the registry since the 90s and never received a call, so I didn’t expect much. They put the Q-tip in my mouth and I was done, it was so quick.” However, this past June, Brother Delman received a phone call that he was a match.
After confirming his match with a blood test, he had a full work-up done to ensure he was physically fit enough to donate. “Everyone was so supportive throughout the process, even those who didn’t work for Gift of Life. For a little surgery and pain, I was saving someone else’s life.” Though he hasn’t met the recipient, he hopes to have the chance someday. Until then, Brother Delman is advocating others join the registry.
“It felt good to do the right thing for someone else. I don’t need congratulations or fame, saving a life was all that mattered to me. It wasn’t a big deal because everyone should be doing this. It just warms my heart that I had this opportunity.”
Brother Delman joined the Delta Rho chapter at Drexel University and was instantly captivated by the brotherhood. “I was happy that they had a focus on my studies while also networking me with other Greeks and brothers. Getting involved in philanthropy truly gave me a global-level view on how to help others.” He served as chapter master and sentinel before graduating with his bachelor’s degree in business with an HR concentration and a minor in psychology.
Every key point in his life has revolved around Judaism whether it was AEPi, meeting his wife or swabbing for Gift of Life. After donating his blood stem cells, recovery went quite smoothly. If he ever finds he is a match for someone else in the future, he would love to donate again. “The way Gift of Life and its constituents treated me throughout the process was incredible. Everyone cares about the company and the process, not to mention they’re quite knowledgeable about everything which comforted me. Getting the word out about Gift of Life and how easy it is to donate is important.” Trusting strangers can be tough when it comes to donating your bone marrow or blood stem cells, but stories like that of Brother Delman are the ones who give cancer patients hope.
“It starts with a swab. You never know when you’ll be a match so give yourself the option and chance to donate. You can always say no, but after speaking with staff you won’t want to. This is the last chance for some to survive, so I encourage everyone to get swabbed and save a life.”