It seems everyone these days is looking for the perfect match. The perfect match in a mate, a friendship, a school, a job, and for some, they’d be happy to just find the perfect match to a pair of socks each morning. But, for Peyton Millspaugh, a sophomore at Clemson University and native of the Upstate, finding the perfect match wasn’t the goal…being the match was! Last year while attending an evangelistic outreach sponsored by Cru at the Brook’s Center on Clemson’s campus, Peyton had the opportunity to see and experience the powerful story of Jim Munroe. Also known as “The Maze,” Jim Munroe is a sought after illusionist, author and speaker whose life story is mesmerizingly woven through various feats of magic. Peyton, a fan of sleight of hand tricks himself, was captivated not just by the illusions on stage, but by Jim’s remarkable testimony of becoming a walking miracle himself after surviving a life-threatening battle with leukemia through the donation of bone marrow from a total stranger. Jim’s story was so compelling that it prompted Peyton to sign up for the national bone marrow registry, “Be the Match” that evening. For the past 25 years, Be the Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world with the goal of saving lives every day through transplants.
“It’s about saving lives, plain and simple,” Peyton said, so he signed up on the spot! The process was easy to start. Some cheek swabs were done and sent it to the organization to have DNA analysis completed to see if Peyton was a potential match for any patients needing bone marrow. Peyton heard stories of how some people had been on the registry for years and years and had never received a call that they were a potential match. However, that would not be the case for Peyton. After just about six months of having his name and information in the registry database, he got the call that he was a potential match for a little two-year-old boy suffering with leukemia! Moving full steam ahead without any hesitation whatsoever, Peyton underwent further blood tests that revealed he was, indeed, a perfect match for the child, with his DNA being almost identical to the little boy’s!!
Upon hearing the amazing news, Peyton had an EKG and Chest X-ray done, and also made several visits to the cancer center in Greenville to take undergo other procedures to confirm his body was ready to make the donation. He also began coordinating a trip with Be the Match to fly to Georgetown, Maryland, where he would travel for the extraction to be made. His brother, Noah, accompanied him on the trip to provide any support Peyton needed. For each of the 5 days prior to the donation, Peyton had to have a shot to make sure his marrow was ready for harvesting. And then, on August 9th, at a hospital just outside our nation’s capital, the young native of Upstate South Carolina donated the fluid from his body that would provide life to a boy whom he may never meet.
Peyton said, “I would certainly like to meet the recipient someday.” However, the guidelines set by the Be the Match foundation stipulate there be no contact between the donor and the recipient for at least a year. After that time, they can contact one another through the organization, if either party wishes. Peyton, who has an obvious soft spot in his heart for helping children, said, “I would love one day to look into the eyes of the little boy whose DNA is so similar to mine.”
For more information about how you can register to possibly help save a life like Peyton did, visit bethematch.org.
Lee Millspaugh, INSPIRE
After getting my degree from Southern Wesleyan University, I eventually became a pastor at The Mount Church in Clemson where I’ve had the privilege of serving for the past 19 years, doing what I believe I was created to do.