Making a difference

Days Creek English teacher Hailey Collins donates white blood cells for leukemia patient


Photo courtesy Hailey Collins

Days Creek English teacher Hailey Collins displays blood being drawn while donating immature white blood cells through the Be The Match foundation in January.

By James Buckner and Malachi Gibson, Staff writers

Mrs. Collins was absent in January, but for a good cause, she did a very brave thing, donating bone marrow. 

“The experience was very stressful, and honestly… Quite a bit scary” said Mrs Collins. 

The English teacher went through a process that extracted immature white blood cells from her blood. Collins said the process was much like donating plasma, but for a longer period of time. 

“I was extremely grateful that they did not have to extract the marrow itself from my bones,” she said. “That process is a bit more scary and definitely more uncomfortable.” 

The process that Mrs. Collins went through was not pain free in and of itself. She had to have a large gauge intravenous needle placed in her arm that extracted her blood and ran it through the blood cell centrifuge. Then another smaller IV returned the remainder of her red blood cells back to her body. 

In total, Mrs. Collins was at the hospital for around 10 hours, eight of which were spent actively hooked up to the machine.

The main reason Mrs. Collins signed up to join the Be The Match registry, was because a family friend of hers had recently recovered from leukemia by a non-familiar donor through the same organization. 

Collins promoted Be The Match and encouraged all of her immediate friends and family to sign up about two years ago. 

“I was thinking nothing would ever come of it as there is a very small chance that I would match with someone,” she said. Mrs. Collins was contacted a bit before Christmas Break by an organizer through the same organization. 

From there she attended some doctors’ appointments, sent in additional cheek swabs, and did blood testing to make sure that she was the best match. 

“I had to give myself two injections, once a day, for four days leading up to the donation,” she said. 

Mrs Collins thought that was the hardest part for herself, that and being a bit uncomfortable for about 8 hours. 

“If I could say one thing about donating marrow, it would be that as humans, we are capable of doing tough things,” she said. “We are capable of fighting through discomfort especially if the end goal is to save someone’s life.” 

Collins will always be honest about her experience donating and she will never tell anyone that it was rainbows and flowers, because it was really hard during some parts. 

“But it was also really beautiful to be placed in a situation where I could save someone’s life,” she said. “Even if it meant being a bit uncomfortable for a few days.”