Sparrow Caregiver’s donation saves a life

Published: Feb. 23, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - At Sparrow the Patient is the center of all that Caregivers do. Sometimes that means giving back in unexpected ways, like donating life-saving bone marrow.

Sparrow Caregiver Amanda Jakubowski, of Holt, recently donated bone marrow stem cells after being identified as a match through the national Be The Match® marrow donor registry. She registered in 2009 after developing a special bond with a young Sparrow Patient who had been diagnosed with a blood cancer.

"I did it not only because of my experience as a pediatric oncology nurse, but because I am a mother, too. I figured if I can give someone five more years with their loved one, then it's worth it," said Jakubowski, a Sparrow pediatric emergency room nurse. "I honestly never expected to be called, but I was thrilled when it happened."

Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, or sickle cell anemia. The Be The Match® Registry provides access to nearly 16.5 million donors and nearly 550,000 cord blood units for Patients who do not have a donor in their family.

Like Jakubowski, Sparrow Caregiver Mary Perkins has a personal connection to the issue. Her 20-year-old son successfully donated bone marrow in 2011.

"My son donated to a woman the same age as his father and it made him realize it could have easily have been one of his parents," Perkins said. "Any one of us could someday be in need, that's why it's so important to register."

That's why Perkins, a behavioral health nurse educator, is working to raise funds to organize a donor drive at Sparrow to encourage more Caregivers to join the registry. The drive would cover the $52 cost of joining the registry that is used to run necessary tests. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 can sign up, it takes about 10 minutes to register and provide a cheek swab sample.

Sparrow has about 10,000 Caregivers working to deliver quality care to our Patients and their families; meet the needs of the mid-Michigan region; and redefine the healthcare experience by ensuring that Sparrow is a national leader in quality and Patient experience. To find out how to join the Be The Match® Marrow Registry visit

Contact: Kyla King at 517.364.2934 or