As much as I disliked certain things about the newspaper industry, I did come across and continue to maintain friendships with some amazing people.
In 2013, I was sitting at my desk and my cell phone rang. On the other end of the line was my sister-in-law, who tearfully informed me that a bone marrow donor had been found for my nephew, who was born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome – a rare immune disease.
The nearly 100% matched donor was my niece.
As happy tears rolled down my face and I hung up with my sister-in-law, I yelled: “She’s a perfect match!” Most of my colleagues knew the struggles my nephew was going through, and that my niece was being tested as a potential donor – along with many others – and there came an overall cheer through the office.
The transplant was a success. Everyone in the office knew it and wanted daily updates, which I was more than happy to offer.
However, while my nephew was still recovering at the hospital, he contracted Legionnaire’s pneumonia and after a short, hard-fought battle, he died.
When I returned to work following his funeral, I passed out “blue bracelets” to anyone who wanted one – they were printed with my nephew’s name, his birth and death dates, and “Wiskott-Aldrich.” Nearly everyone wanted one, and some of my coworkers wore the rubber bracelets until they ended up breaking and falling off.
Also upon my return, my editor and HR director called me into a private meeting, where they handed me an envelope with a card signed by everyone in the company, and about $160. As I broke down in tears, they told me they took up a collection for my family, and requested we do whatever we wished with the money.
With my brother and sister-in-law’s blessing, and on behalf of those incredible colleagues who held me when I was broken, we donated the money to the Wiskott-Aldrich Foundation in honor of my nephew.