40th Anniversary of an event that shaped my life

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich 3 Comments

It struck me today driving to New Frontiers to get some goodies what today is.  Pearl Harbor day, yes.  The annual lighting of the Christmas Tree in Prescott?  Absolutely.

December 7th is a special day for me and my family.  It’s the day 40 years ago that started my mom’s life saving bone marrow transplant.  It’s the day that marked for quite some time, her being the longest living survivor of the first successful long term bone marrow transplant.  And that means it’s the day that gave me the opportunity to know her for an extra 25 years of my life.

Just thinking it’s been forty years made me feel a little old.  I’m 42 now, I was 2 when she was in an isolation ward at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  I actually still remember so much of that time so clearly.  Showing off my Fisher Price train to her through the glass window of her room.  Her teeth had a purple tinge that day when she smiled, something the doctors had given her.

I remember the rides to Boston with my grandparents, and with Mem & Pep.  I’d sit in the back of the car with a crazy toy telephone that had little recordings in it so I thought I was talking to the Sesame Street gang.  All that going to the hospital, that was just part of what our lives were at the time.  In my 2 year old mind, absolutely nothing unusual.  I even remember the Arby’s Dad and I went to.

This afternoon right before I was going to sit down and write this post I got a note from my mom’s friend Lyn about today.  Lyn worked at Brigham & Women’s and was one of the great folks who watched over her while she was there.  Lyn was also by my mother’s side when she passed away in 1999.  She was a great friend to my mom, myself, and my family.  Thanks for checking in today Lyn!

So yes, here’s to all the great people who let me know my mom.  I don’t remember every one of the research staff, but I’ll always remember Dr. Joel Rappaport.  He was mom’s hematologist.  And in my mind, he was a bit of a hero to say the least.  Well, except that time he lied to me about how much blood they were going to take out of me.  🙂  And then there’s my Aunt Beverly.  Not a researcher, but the bone marrow donor.  Without her there would have been no transplant.

40 years.  That’s just a bit of time isn’t it?  I’ll tell you, December 7th will always be special to me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget this particular anniversary.



Comments 3

  1. Dr Joel saved my sons life as well….He was a less than a year old and diagnosed with a rare disorder called Wiscott Aldrich Syndrom….Dr Joel oerformed a successful bone marrow transplant on him at a year and a half…..My son this week thanks to Dr Joel, celebrates his 24th healthy birthday.

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