Health

Heroes Project 2014 – Marina Sampanes Peed

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“I got my second chance at life” – Marina Sampanes Peed

What if the one person who could save your life was a stranger?

As she sought a match for a much-needed blood transfusion and bone marrow transplant, Marina Sampanes Peed learned that not even her immediate family could help her.

For the past six years, she had managed a chronic blood cancer called Polycythemia Vera. It nearly killed her.

Doctors told her that she had two years to find a donor match. “It was the biggest sucker punch you could imagine,” Peed said. “Just imagine getting an expiration date like that.”

With no matches in her family, Marina”s life was dependent on the kindness of strangers. In July 2013, she was notified that a 22-year-old man from Europe was her perfect match. After the stranger donated his stem cells, Marina”s procedure was a successful. She celebrated her “rebirth day.”

“I got my second chance at life,” the 48-year-old said. “It makes you appreciate all those things you never noticed before.

“Every day, no matter how crappy you might feel, no matter how rough you think you have it, find something to be grateful for…and keep a sense of humor even in the bad times…these are essential qualities.”

She encouraged those who have a desire to help others to consider becoming a donor. “You don”t have to be a millionaire to help cure someone”s cancer. You just have to be willing to donate a piece of yourself. Every one of us can do something to save someone”s life.”