Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. -Gregory Kane, assistant professor of health and physical education at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently donated his own stem cells, inspired by Eastern Soccer Coach Gregory DeVito's bone marrow drive for student Jon DeCasanova.
The stem cell donation process starts with a simple swap of the inside of one's cheek. After a few weeks, the donor is contacted and begins a series of blood tests. For four days prior to his donation, Kane underwent 10 Filgrastim injections, a medicine that enhances an individual's stem cell count. On the last day, Kane spent seven hours hooked up to a special device that extracts blood from one arm; centrifuges the blood to reveal the stem cells; collects the stems cells; and returns the remaining blood back into the person's other arm.
"The Massachusetts General Hospital transplant team was fantastic and supportive throughout the process," said Kane. "While the process was certainly not painless, the possibility of saving a life was motivation enough for me."
When asked why he decided to donate stem cells, Kane said that the reasons were very personal. "I try to support student and faculty initiatives as best I can," said Kane. "In this particular case, Gregory DeVito's bone marrow drive was important to me. In addition, this sort of process is near and dear to my heart, as my mother had gone through a similar process about eight years ago. Her autologous stem cell transplant was very successful. In some respect, I felt like I was paying back for the technology that helped save my mother's life."