PANA, Ill. (WAND) - A local nurse on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic went above and beyond to save the life of a 74-year-old stranger by donating her stem cells.
In 2015, Heidi Gloud registered as a potential donor at a bone marrow blood stem cell registration drive with DKMS when she was a student at Kluthe Center for Higher Education and Technology.
"Being able to give somebody the opportunity to live longer, you can't put a price tag on that, and you can't even describe it."
Three years after swabbing her cheek, Gloud received a call from DKMS that was she was a perfect match for a 74-year-old man who was suffering from blood cancer and needed a transplant to survive. Gloud said it was 2018 when she went through with the life saving procedure.
"Being able to be matched to somebody, it's kind of rare."
Gloud kept in contact with the 74-year-old man and recently found out he needed additional help. As a registered nurse on the front lines of COVID-19 at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Gloud decided to continue her passion of helping others and in April 2020, received clearance to donate her stem cells again.
"Over 70 of those with blood cancer have to rely on a complete stranger to donate. So, that's pretty staggering to think about if that was your family member."
DKMS is the largest donor center and currently leads the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders. There are ways to register to be a match. For the protection of others, DKMS has postponed all planned in-person drives and events from the registration of new blood stem cell and bone marrow donors. However, the organization has created online registration to learn or sign up, click here.