When I reached out to Carly to be featured on the blog I was not entirely sure of what direction I would go, or how I would even begin to summarize everything in a way that didn’t seem like I was rambling on, but one message remained abundantly clear, and stood out to me through all my thoughts and that is to: “Follow Your Path”… Follow Your Path to me simply is taking the cards you have been dealt and making the best of the situation or continuing along the path that is laid before you in the best way possible. Through various challenges, adverse situations, and any issues that arise you continue to power through and navigate those hurdles head on the best way that you can. Because at the end of the day you can only control what is in your control. It usually is not the prettiest or even the easiest path forward, but in most cases it’s your only option, because it is what you can control. A little backstory and why I am writing this blogpost: My name is Jordan Muschamp, and I am a 29-year-old guy living in Atlanta, Georgia with his 1-year-old chocolate lab named Lee and the kicker… I am a 3-time cancer survivor. Three different times in my life I have been told I have or have relapsed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia aka AML. Three different times my life has come to a screeching halt to undergo harsh chemotherapy treatments, extended (months long) in-patient hospital stays, full body radiation, and most recently a Bone Marrow Transplant. 

I have been diagnosed with AML 3 different times within a 13-year span. From 2010-2023 I have been diagnosed at the ages of 15, 21, and most recently in 2023 at the age of 28. I spent the entire calendar year of 2023 dedicated to my treatment and fighting to achieve remission once more to hopefully move on to my last option, my Hail Mary if you will, which was a Bone Marrow Transplant. In June of 2023 after 5 months of treatment I was fortunate enough to do just that. 

I am also incredibly grateful and fortunate to have had very strong matches within the Bone Marrow Registry, and on June 30, 2023, I received a stem cell transplant (aka a Bone Marrow Transplant) from an unrelated 10/10 matched donor. – What all goes into being a “match” goes far and beyond my sphere of knowledge, but I do know there are several factors that include genetic makeup and other various factors they look at on the cellular level (like under a microscope). There is more to it than just having the same blood type – which in some cases donors and recipients do not have the same blood type. Kind of wild I know. 

What I know about my donor, or my “match” is:  She is a 26-year-old female, and her cells were couriered to Atlanta from a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. – And that is all I know about her. Since the transplant I have had a lot of people ask me: Do you know who she is? – no I do not, or would you like to one day meet her? and the answer to that is a resounding 100% yes. I would love the opportunity to one day have the chance to meet her, thank her, and let her know how her selfless act of being on the Bone Marrow Registry alone has given me a chance to continue living, and to see another day. I am forever indebted to her and very thankful for her willingness to donate. While my situation was a very solid match, the grim reality of a bone marrow transplant is it’s hard. It’s incredibly difficult to find unrelated individuals to have enough of a similar genetic makeup for a transplant to take place without an array of difficulties and complications. – Even in my situation I have endured various side effects, issues, and complications from my transplant and treatment that I do not necessarily want to get into all the gory details of, but let’s just say it has been a journey. With all this being said: the best possible way to combat the difficulty of finding strong matches for people out there that are in desperate need for a Stem Cell Transplant: to have more people present on the Bone Marrow Registry. The registry is in desperate need to add more people from all walks of life, but especially minority groups to have a bigger pool of potential matches for patients. Throughout this 13-year journey I have heard time and time again of patients needing people to join the registry to locate a stronger match. Again, I count myself as lucky, fortunate, and thankful I was able to secure a strong match myself, but the harsh reality is it’s not the case for every patient. 

I think when I look back on my 29 years so far, life has not turned out the way that I ever envisioned it to be, and in a way, I have learned to accept it because it is my path, and it’s the cards I have been dealt whether I like them or not. So, while I cannot control avoiding getting diagnosed with cancer, even how my body is going to react to treatment/the transplant, etc., or how well of a match my donor is/was. What I can control is: my outlook on life, how I carry myself on a day-to-day basis, how I treat others, and who I am as a person. I look at this post to help spread my message. Help people to see the need to sign up to be on the Bone Marrow Registry to potentially be a match for someone that has no other options but to undergo a transplant. To potentially be someone’s “Hail Mary” … To the 26- or 27-year-old woman somewhere around Nebraska. Thank you for being my Hail Mary, and I hope to have the chance to meet you one day. 

Hail Mary Football Definition: a long forward pass in football thrown into or near the end zone in a last-ditch attempt to score as time runs out.

To learn more about joining the bone marrow registry check out: www.bethematch.org