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Bishop of Corpus Christi donates stem cells to save woman’s life

MULVEY
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He signed up for the donor registry thanks to the work of a parishioner.

The bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas, Michael Mulvey, had signed up for the Be the Match bone marrow registry—the largest one in the world—years ago, before becoming a bishop. Now, he has shared his story with South Texas Catholic to encourage others to be donors.

After being tested for the registry, it turned out he was a “perfect match” for a woman with blood cancer. When he was told of the match, he went to San Antonio to undergo a peripheral blood stem cell donation, a non-surgical procedure that harvests stem cells from the donor’s blood. The process requires several days of preparation and up to eight hours of the donor being connected to a machine that filters out the specialized cells before returning the blood to the donor’s body.

The donation saved the life of the woman, a mother with young children whom Bishop Mulvey has never met. “Knowing that because of the life I have been given by God – I was able to give back and make a big difference in this person’s life, in the life of her children and her family, is something I have thought of quite often,” he told reporter Julie Stark.

He had signed up for the registry thanks to the “commitment and dedication” of “one of our very charitable and active parishioners” at a parish in Austin where Mulvey, not yet a bishop, was assigned.

Signing up for the registry and donating stem cells is a generous gift of life and a reflection of gratitude to God, Bishop Mulvey says, referring to Matthew 10:8: “St. Matthew says what you have received as a gift, give as a gift. We must always remember that everyone’s life is a gift and true gratitude is expressed when you are willing to give back and share what you have.

It’s also vitally needed. Leticia Mondragon, a Donor Development and Engagement Specialist, explained to South Texas Catholic that “Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer or blood disorder, such as leukemia or lymphoma.” Their life can be saved by a donor, who need not have the same blood type, although matching ethnicity is important. According to the Be the Match website, there is a particular need right now for donors of diverse ethnicities so they can help a wider range of patients. Donors can register between the ages of 18 and 44, and can donate before reaching the age of 61.

Mondragon expressed her gratitude to Bishop Mulvey for sharing his testimony, in the hope that it will help inspire more people to donate bone marrow or to support the cause in one of the other ways listed on their website.

Read more: His bone marrow donation saved a young girl’s life

Read more: The man who saved 2.4 million babies with his blood

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