Alfred University News

Alumna, evening librarian Katie Adams feels 'pretty awesome' after Be the Match stem cell donation

When Katie Adams ’17 ’18 first heard of the Be the Match Registry, she immediately became interested.

When Katie Adams  ’17 ’18 first heard of the Be the Match Registry, she immediately became interested.

Be the Match registries collect DNA data from individuals for possible stem cell and bone marrow donations used in treating diseases such as leukemia. When Katie was 15, her father passed away from acute myelogenous leukemia. As an undergraduate at Alfred University, she decided to register her own DNA, in 2015, in the hopes it would be compatible with an individual suffering from a similar disease.

About five years later, in November 2020, she got the word: Someone – the identities of patients are kept confidential ­– was a match for her DNA.

A series of examinations followed, complicated at one point by her coming down with the COVID 19 virus. Then on Feb. 22, she and her mother drove to the Wilmot Cancer Center, in Rochester, where a six-hour procedure withdrew blood through a small incision in her neck, extracted stem cells, then returned the blood to her circulatory system.

The procedure involved recycling her blood five times. By the end of the day, she had donated 7.81 million stem cells.

“I felt pretty awesome.”

She’s back now at her regular job at Southern Tier Express, in Andover, where she works as a dispatcher. She also works part-time as an evening reference librarian at Alfred University’s Scholes and Herrick libraries. She has been working in the University’s library system since her undergraduate days. Meanwhile, she is enjoying her work at Southern Tier Express, where her father also worked as a driver.

“There’s something new every day.”

The Be the Match Registry is a program operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, which was founded in 1986. It is one of the world’s largest hematopoietic cell registries and has supported more than 100,000 stem cell and bone marrow transplants worldwide.