Maxine Renning is the epitome of what it is to be a Campus Celebrity. Having met the thankful recipient of her recent bone marrow donation last weekend, Maxine has been interviewed by many wanting to hear her story.
Maxine, a regular blood donor, thought it would be a good use of her lunch break to donate her blood the year after she graduated high school. Unfortunately, due to the fact that she had been outside in the summer heat all day she was unable to give blood. While debating if it was still acceptable to take the free pizza offered to those donating blood, she was asked by the Be the Match Foundation to register to be a potential bone marrow donor. Maxine claims her initial thought was that she did not want to do this, but as the process was explained to her, she began to have a sixth sense that she needed to register and give a blood sample.
Only six months later, she was told that she was a potential match for an anonymous person with MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes). Maxine says that at that moment she did not feel fear, only excitement. She tweeted about her excited state only to later learn that at that same moment her bone marrow recipient, Jenna Langer, tweeted about her excitement as well.
Maxine with Jenna after meeting for the first time
After going through multiple tests Maxine was told she met the ten out of ten requirements to be a perfect match and she donated her bone marrow on May 11th, 2011 in Providence, RI. Maxine explains that during the procedure you are given an anesthetic and that afterwards is when you feel the pain. But she wants anyone out there with a fear of donating to realize the pain is “very temporary” and that it is worth a little bit of pain to save someone’s life.
A year after she donated, while she was in India, she was finally asked if she would like to get in contact with the person she donated to. Of course, she said yes. Not knowing what to say to Jenna Langer, she sent Jenna a simple text saying something along the lines of “Hey, I’m Maxine and I donated my blood marrow to you.” Ever since then Maxine and Jenna have been really good friends. The girls were excited when they finally got the chance to meet for the first time, face-to-face, last weekend at the Be The Match Foundation Conference in Minneapolis, MN.
Maxine says she is usually a very emotional person but through this whole experience she thought she would have that emotional moment when she met Jenna. But, Maxine says meeting her didn’t change a thing. She describes the experience as “unique, surreal, and awesome” but thinks she only “played a little role” in Jenna’s recovery. Jenna and her family and friends were so thankful to Maxine, and Maxine was happy she could help.
Maxine says she has “no words” to describe what she has taken away from everything that has happened. She has realized we, as people, are “all living the same life” and need to help each other. She wants to make sure the Emerson community knows that donating is easier than you think, and 76% of the time individuals who register to donate are not even a match.
Maxine plans to have a Bone Marrow Drive next semester, where students can sign up to be a bone marrow donor. All this would entail is signing up on a registry and getting your cheek swabbed.
But for now, Maxine remains an active member of Emerson’s Emcomm and is waiting patiently to hear if she was accepted into the LA program. Be on the watch for her Bone Marrow Drive next semester and remember, everyone can make a difference.