Raleigh man delivers stem cells to patients around the world
Posted November 22, 2020 12:29 p.m. EST
Updated November 22, 2020 8:25 p.m. EST
A 74-year-old Raleigh man spends an average of two weeks a month traveling around the world delivering stem cells or bone marrow to patients as part of Be The Match, a volunteer-based donor program.
According to Troy "Davis" Moore, Be The Match uses a database of 135 countries to find life-saving bone marrow or stem cells for patients with leukemia and other blood diseases. The stem cells are delivered from donors to patients around the world by volunteers like Moore.
Moore said, when he retired 17 years ago, gardening and working around the house just wasn't enough. His friend, who was already a volunteer courier with Be The Match, told him about the opportunity.
To date, Moore has logged more than 5,000 hours as a volunteer courier. He has traveled as far as London, Barcelona, Croatia, Portugal, Singapore and Taiwan.
On Thanksgiving week, Moore will travel to South America to pick up blood stem cells and deliver them to a patient in the United States. He had to get a rapid COVID-19 test before his trip.
"It's been a lot more challenging during COVID-19 because the rules have changed so much in these countries," said Moore, explaining he recently ran into some trouble in Croatia when he hadn't had a coronavirus test in 72 hours.
Moore said, although he doesn't get to meet the families he helps due to confidentiality, the job is incredibly special. In an interview with WRAL's Adam Owens, Moore described a trip he made on Christmas Day, 10 years ago, to deliver bone marrow from the United Kingdom to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Moore said a nurse was walking him through the hospital hallways when she tapped on his shoulder and pointed to a patient room. Inside, he saw the parents of a child waiting for a transplant. "I have children and I could only imagine," Moore said. "They were just pacing down the room, waiting for it."
Moore said he plans to keep traveling until he can't anymore. Volunteering works well for him, he said, especially now that his children are grown.
Some people might get caught up in the adventure of travel, Moore said, but he's usually only in another country for one day.
"At some point, you realize that's not what it's all about," he said. "It's about getting [a cure] to someone."