My wife Merlyn Joseph was a positive person. She would never sit and grieve when faced with trouble. She knew how to laugh when in pain. After she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, we were initially shattered. It took us a while to even understand and accept what was going on. It was Merlyn’s strength that took us through.
“Why me?” was a question that was bothering her initially, but she transformed herself and started questioning “Why anyone?”
Even during her weekly treatments, she would bring cookies and chocolates for fellow patients. She started appreciating the beauty of tiny things. She was 32 when we lost her in 2016. Being the youngest patient in the hospital, everyone remembers her as a young lady with a beautiful smile.
Merlyn always believed in “sharing our blessings”. After her diagnosis, she signed up as an organ donor and inspired me to enroll as well. She even donated her hair for children who suffered from cancer.
For almost four years, she received weekly blood/platelet transfusions. During one of her transfusions, when I was sitting by her side, she said, “Who are these folks donating blood and platelets for me every week? What is the need for them to share their blessings?”
She then asked me, “Why don’t you try donating blood so that someone like me, a receiver, would be made happy?” Ever since, I started donating blood and platelets every three months. I can proudly say that I am a registered organ donor, blood donor and stem cell donor. It’s all because of my super girl.
If you are a registered stem cell donor, please don’t quit the registry. There are thousands of fighters like Merlyn who are still waiting for a donor. I can’t express how happy we were when we heard from the doctors that Merlyn found a stem cell donor. Unfortunately, there were other complications that did not support us.
Merlyn was a strong believer, a real fighter and a true inspiration. She is definitely the strongest girl I have ever seen in my life.
I made a promise to Merlyn… to take care of her. This is my way of keeping her alive through keeping her memories and name ringing. Merlyn loved life, and she wanted to do something big to give back to people. I don’t want that to stop only because this happened to her.
I wish for a day when every person – the way he or she has an Aadhar card or voter ID card – has an organ donation card and a stem cell donation card.
I will continue to live her dreams. I will continue to share my blessings. You should too.
If you wish to consider sharing your blessings, please register yourself as a stem cell donor at Datri, a blood stem cell registry.
– John Navin is a native of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and is currently working in the United States. He conducts awareness drives on stem cell donation in Indian communities in the US and India.
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