No, not a love match. Kayla Rose has already found that and is happily engaged. She is searching for a stem cell donor and you could be her match.

Originally from Rehoboth, Rose currently lives in Uxbridge. She is a 27-year-old optometrist who recently graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2019. She was doing routine checks with a patient when she started to experience dizzy spells.

Photo contributed by Kayla Rose

“Just like everyone else living in the COVID-19 world, I was more tired and rundown than usual in the few months prior to Thanksgiving,” said Rose. “I had my routine physical scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving, and I actually considered skipping it due to COVID, but decided to follow through due to my non-specific symptoms. My PCP ordered routine bloodwork and I got a call at 9 pm on the following Tuesday letting me know that my white blood cell count was almost 60,000; nearly 10 times higher than normal.”

In a whirlwind of doctors’ appointments following that call, Rose was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Philadelphia chromosome-positive. “I was admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a month and am currently receiving outpatient treatment.”

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Rose had an immense amount of support from loved ones near and far. “Throughout this journey, the outpouring of love and support that I have experienced has been inspiring. My wonderful fiancé, family, and friends from all decades of life have supported me in unimaginable ways. My incredible practice, Duquette Family Eyecare in North Smithfield, RI has been incredible in their love and support. I miss seeing patients with their smiling faces every day and look forward to the day when I can return.”

Rose is waiting for a cure that will eventually come from a stem cell transplant. The difficulty is that she is only one of over 18,000 people who are in need of a stem cell transplant each year. “Only about 23 to 77 percent of people will find their needed donor on the Be the Match registry, which is why it is crucial to continue diversifying the registry.”

According to Rose, signing up for the registry is as easy as requesting a kit from Be the Match and swabbing your mouth with a large Q-tip. “The donation process for over 70 percent of people is no different than a simple blood donation, it just takes a little bit longer. You could be the lifesaver someone has been waiting for!”

This Valentine’s Day, you can show off your heart by registering with Be the Match during a drive through the Giveback Foundation. “The goal is to add 100 more individuals to the registry. This will be an outdoor event following all COVID-19 guidelines.” The drive will take place on Sunday, February 14 from 11 am to 3 pm at 390 Fisher Road in Dartmouth. Folks between the ages of 18 and 44 are encouraged to stop by. Rose extends her heartfelt appreciation to her family-friends for making this drive possible. “A big thank you to Wes and Kellie Faulkner for hosting this amazing event!”

Photo contributed by Kayla Rose

Rose now understands that there are twists and turns in life, but that’s what makes living an adventure. “I have learned that in life that we make a plan, work hard to actualize that plan, but must also have the patience to accept the unexpected edits to the plan from the universe, and the ability to accept the end product as more beautiful than anything we could have originally envisioned.”

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