By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
Ty Hranicka hopes to be saving a life.
Hranicka, a 2018 Pope John XXIII Regional High School graduate, will be making a peripheral blood stem cell donation to an adult with leukemia in hopes that person can overcome the cancer.
“This means the world to me because I hope this gives this person an opportunity to live a happy and normal life,” Hranicka said in a phone interview. “It’s just surreal.”
Hranicka, a Mendham native and rising senior at Lafayette College, is making the donation through Be The Match, a nonprofit organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) that matches donors with patients with life-threatening blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. Hranicka got matched as the primary donor for the adult after he and his teammates on the Lafayette football team all did swabs at an information session on campus.
When he found out that he was a match, Hranicka attended another information session that went over the donation procedure and recovery process, including risks and side effects, and was asked if he would agree to donating to the recipient. Coming from Pope John, which emphasized the importance of helping people in the community, Hranicka agreed to the donation without any hesitation.
“Pope John taught me what it meant to serve and help others in need,” Hranicka said. “That lesson and education has definitely contributed to me giving back to those who need help the most and this is one of those times.”
Since agreeing to the donation, Hranicka had to get prepared for the non-surgical procedure. First, he had to go for a physical exam and give blood samples to make sure that his donation would be safe for both him and the patient.
Then, for five days leading up to donation, he was given injections of filgrastim, which is a medication that “increases the number of blood-forming cells” in a person’s bloodstream, according to Be The Match’s website. On the day of his donation, Hranicka’s blood will be “removed through a needle on one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells.” After that, Hranicka’s blood will be returned to him through his other arm.
While Hranicka may have a ton of responsibilities and things happening in his life, such as preparing for his senior year of college both academically and on the football field as a fullback for the Leopards, he says this experience “puts a lot into perspective.”
“What this person has to go through with this blood cancer: all of the challenges and difficulties of just living with this is incredibly hard,” Hranicka said. “Everything in my life is a little smaller compared to what this person is going through.”
Hranicka hopes that everything goes well with the procedure and for the recipient. He also hopes that other people can participate in this initiative as well.
“I just want to encourage everyone to please make a donation,” Hranicka said. “It takes 30 seconds (to do the swabs) and a few doctors’ appointments if you get matched. You can possibly be giving someone 30 more years of life.”