Giving the Gift of Life
Trident | September 20, 2019

Allie Reimold, Purdue, never expected that a small act of kindness would be so life-changing for herself and others. A selfless decision on her part began a journey where she has been able to show the world that kindness can have a ripple effect on lives – even saving them.

Allie had always held an interest in health, diet and nutrition, and entered her undergraduate time at Purdue with the thought she would become a dietitian. “I looked for ways to align my interests to what I would become involved in and passionate about.”

After joining Tri Delta her freshman year and being moved by our organization’s commitment to treat and defeat childhood cancer, Allie found herself involved for the next three years with PUDM – Purdue University Dance Marathon. She became the Tri Delta chapter representative for PUDM, and served on committees, eventually becoming the director of fundraising for the fraternity/sorority community.

It was through her involvement with PUDM that Allie was first introduced to Be The Match (BTM). A global leader in bone marrow transplantation, Be The Match is a community of donors, volunteers, health care professionals and researchers who deliver cures by helping patients get the life-saving marrow or cord blood transplant they need.

“It was very serendipitous how I became connected to BTM,” Allie said. “At Dance Marathon, you’re on your feet for 18 hours. During a break from dancing, I was able to visit with them to learn about what they do. I registered on the spot. It was just a few cheek swabs, very simple. I knew the statistics were very low to actually be a match for someone. I never imagined what would eventually happen.”

David Whitson would never have imagined it, either. A professional airline pilot in Plano, Texas, David thought of himself as a normal guy with good health who never got sick. “A little secret, pilots don’t like going to the doctor. Everything has to be reported at every visit, and it could be the end of your career if something is wrong,” he said. What initially began as a headache and side pains in August of 2016, eventually led to a devastating result for David and his family. He was diagnosed with leukemia, with a very bad genetic mutation. He would need a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. He began aggressive chemotherapy and the search began for a donor.

Be The Match began to go through the donor registry and ran his blood to generate potential matches. What happened next changed David’s – and Allie’s – lives forever.

View the digital Trident to read the full feature

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