Warter Strong/Gift of Life Bone Marrow Drive - December 2014
In the fall of 2014, we faced the news that, Oren Warter- an amazing father, husband, friend and well-respected Anesthesiologist had AML... Acute Myeloid Leukemia. At the age of 44. With no outward signs.
We realized that Oren would need a bone marrow transplant, and I reached out to my friends and family. People have always said that Oren and I were so strong...our whole family really, for living life with the challenges we faced daily with Ryan. We never saw ourselves as "strong" rather we chose to live with gratitude and focus on the happy parts of our life and accepted and didn't dwell on the harder.
But now that compliment of strength took on new meaning.
It became a "movement"... a call to act...and Warter Strong was born.
Before I could blink an eye, my friends had come up with a logo and had bracelets and -tshirts made for "Warter Strong". People began changing their Facebook profile pictures to show their solidarity and we plowed through a huge bone marrow drive in search of finding the perfect match for Oren. At that drive, we went through every single one of the 600 test kits sent to us and collected over $18,000.
To date (October 2020) , we are still very active with the Gift of Life (www.giftoflife.org/dc/warter) and have raised over $55,000, have over 1067 donors
(people who have donated money or joined the registry), helped match to 23 patients needing a transplant and four of our donors have actually gone to transplant and had their stem cells used to help try and save a life of a person suffering from a blood cancer.
And while Oren's perfect match did not come from that drive, the legacy we created continues on. That first event for "Warter Strong" ultimately grew in ways we could have never imagined.