Music festival leads to life-saving bone marrow transplant

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It’s called the butterfly effect.

It’s where a small change in one environment can have a big outcome somewhere else. A Columbus man is inspiring others to have such a moment after a series of small events led to him making a huge decision, which likely saved a young boys life.

It was Lollapalooza in summer 2015, a Chicago music festival that Brendan Murray of Columbus, was not even supposed to be attending.

“One of my friends had won tickets through CD102.5 locally,” Murray said.

While at the festival, Murray took a break from the music to tour some of the vendors and tents,

“I remember there was someone with a clipboard, it was one of the last tents we saw,” Murray added. It was here that would put his name on a list that would change his life and someone else’s forever.

The tent was non-profit Blood Cancer-fighting agency DKMS who was taking names and DNA swabs.

“To be honest I kind of forgot about it,” Murray said of signing up to the bone marrow donor list.

Fast forward more than two years to March, 2018 and Murray got a very real reminder. DKMS was calling with a rare match, a perfect stranger who was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.

“It’s close to a one in million shot,” Murray said. It was an opportunity he could not refuse, and Murray gave the donation to the stranger a short time later.

“I just know that it is a young child, a young boy that lives in our area,” Murray added, “To give somebody a second chance at life.”

Murray said the procedure took a week to recover from, and he would do it again.

He has coined a term for the whole experience.

“A Butterfly effect moment, how all these little events had lined up, to make something larger like this happen,” Murray said.

Now he wants others to have their moment. On Friday, May 25th he is teaming up with bar and restaurant Harrison’s on Kenney in Columbus to raise funds for DKMS as well as get more people signed up on the bone marrow donor list. 20% of all proceeds from the bar that night will go directly to DKMS in its fight against blood cancer. Murray is also interested in starting a Columbus chapter of the organization.

According to the DKMS website, 70% of all patients in need of a bone marrow transplant must find one outside their family and every year of the 12,000 people who need a transplant only about half of them will get one.

In one year Branden Murray will have the option to meet his young mystery match.

“They only know my age and gender,” Murray said.

He hopes to someday share the story of how chance winning to a music festival, played a part in his donation. 

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