To say that I have always been daddy's little girl would be the biggest understatement. Everything from school dances to projects in the garage, I could always be found by my dad's side. In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
It was unsure if he would make it see my college graduation that following spring. He underwent treatment after treatment until he was finally in remission and permitted to attend graduation in the spring of 2010. He bounced back stronger than ever, even committing to a job of pushing a 500lb cart through the sand on the beaches of South Jersey selling ice cream that very same summer.
Fast forward two years to the summer of 2012 - his cancer relapsed. This time, the doctors said the only option was to try a stem cell transplant. A day full of blood tests for both my brother and I garnered the results that I, daddy's little girl, was the perfect match and the best chance he had.
Just a month later, his entire immune and bone marrow systems were wiped clean and I spent four days in the hospital a few floors away having my leukocytes and stem cells filtered from my own system and hung in a drip bag for him.
He has now been in remission for six years with a totally new blood type and all female stem cells. I could not be more grateful for the research and trials that my dad, my hero, was included in as he will still be around for the most important event yet: walking me down the aisle at my upcoming fall wedding. Donating, while scary and nerve-wracking, will always be 110% worth it.