ROSEVILLE, CA - A Chico State graduate who joined the National Marrow Donor Program while giving blood with her sorority sisters is credited with saving the life of a 5-year-old Texas girl.
Hilary Ingram, 23, said she happened to see a sign for the Give a Spit marrow registry drive during Chico's Greek Week in October 2011, and agreed to have her cheeks swabbed.
In January, 2012, she was notified of a potential match with a child in Denton, Texas, who had recently been diagnosed with preleukemia, also known as MDS.
A doctor who later confirmed the match told Hilary the child had just a month or so to live without a bone marrow transplant.
On Feb. 3, 2012, Hilary checked into Stanford University Medical Center to have bone marrow extracted from her hip.
She said her donation became absolutely necessary when at least two other prospective donors backed out.
"I guess everyone has their reasons, but I couldn't imagine not going through with the process," Hilary said.
Although Hilary was given reports on the child's progress, she didn't actually learn the girl's name until she was invited last spring to speak in New York at the 20th anniversary celebration of DoSomething.org, which organized the Give a Spit campaign.
Hilary also learned that JetBlue would fly her to Texas to meet Stevye, now 6.
Hilary recalled an emotional encounter with Stevye and her parents in August.
"She's healthy. She's fine now. She's completely fine."
Hilary, who works for Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento, said she expects to maintain a lifelong relationship with the girl whose life would have been cut short without the transplant.
"I don't think of myself as a hero," she said. "Most people, if given the opportunity, would jump at it."
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net