Nebraska man donates 12 liters of blood to help 74-year-old woman

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BEATRICE, Nebraska — Jack Knispel's list got a little shorter this month.

Numbered 1-50, the list is a collection of goals the 2011 Beatrice High School graduate composed his senior year of things he hoped to achieve in his life, the Beatrice Daily Sun (http://bit.ly/1xsqmex ) reported.

His parents held onto the list after Jack graduated, and are proud to say three of those items can now be crossed off: Be someone's hero; make my parents proud; and make a difference in someone's life.

"I think that says a lot about our son and the kind of person he is," said his mother, Judy Knispel. "If this saves somebody's life, it's an awesome thing."

Jack recently underwent a peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) to save the life of a 74-year-old stranger.

Closely related to a bone marrow transplant without the need to harvest marrow from inside bone, Jack said the PBSCT consisted of extraction from his right arm in a similar fashion as giving blood. He donated a total of 12 liters, while blood was returned to his left arm. The process took a total of around four hours, but required a lot of preparation.

There were multiple blood tests to make sure the match was 100 percent.

Jack had to give eight capsules of blood at the first test and complete a urinary analysis.

Then there was a physical, chest X-ray and more blood tests.

For five days prior to the donation, Jack said he received two shots per day of Filgrastim.

"When I had to get those shots done, each day it stung," Jack said. "It wasn't like an allergy shot.

"It would bubble up and you couldn't touch it. The Filgrastim wasn't going into the blood stream. It was going into the muscle. It would sting. Then, during the donation I could feel a constant pain of the blood going back in."

According to information from Be the Match, Filgrastim increases the number of blood-forming cells (also called blood stem cells) in the bloodstream.

The University of Nebraska-Kearney criminal justice student wasn't expecting to me a match when he had his throat swabbed.

Around 40 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity were tested by the "Be the Match" non-profit group around two years ago as a voluntary community service project. Jack was the only one to have a match.

He knew when the organization called they found him a match, though deciding to donate was still difficult.

"When I first found out, I was really nervous," Jack said. "I had no idea what it was going to be like. I'd never done anything like this before. I heard it was painful. I thought I was going to have to get it done out of the hip.

"After I did the donation, the best way to describe it was having the flu and the worst possible symptoms. You feel like a wet noodle and not really balanced."

The recipient was a 74-year-old woman with some form of blood cancer. That's all Jack knows about her at this point, but hopes the two can meet.

Jack's parents agreed their son was brave for going through with the donation, despite there being risks.

"I was nervous because I had looked online and there are risks involved," Judy said. "I was very nervous about it. As time went on, and I could see Jack was very serious about doing it and I'm proud of him for doing it. I've never done anything that fantastic in my life before."

"Several people have called him a hero," added his dad, Scott Knispel. "I think that about sums it up. You don't have to run into a burning building to pull somebody out."


Information from: Beatrice Sun, http://www.beatricedailysun.com

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