Kimberlin Brown: Soap opera legend saves life of a baby!
Happy holiday season to all!
When you've played some of the best soap opera vixens on tv, you've spent your workday trying to convince a television audience that you are mean, vindictive and spiteful.
However, beneath her actress persona the real Kimberlin Brown is simply a caring, doting wife and mother who is nothing like her onscreen character. As a mother of two, she adores her children and, like most moms, would do anything for them, especially if they were sick. She would also hope that if her own children were sick, someone would want to help save them. That’s why Kimberlin’s decision to donate bone marrow to help save the life of a toddler was a no brainer, no matter how painful or inconvenient it was.
It all started when an adult neighbor was diagnosed with leukemia. The community started a bone marrow drive and Kimberlin signed up. Although she wasn’t a match for this gentleman, she knew she could be called up at any time if she was a match for anyone in the registry. The odds of being a genetic match were incredibly thin, but Kimberlin agreed to keep her name in the registry.
One day, when Kimberlin least expected it -- while busy shooting scenes and living her normal everyday life – she got THAT phone call – the phone call that would change her life and eventually change the life of a very sick toddler.
“The toddler had leukemia and they told me I was a match for her,” says Brown. They took four or five vials of blood for further testing and I didn’t hear anything for three months and then they took more blood for more testing and it took more months.”
One year later (that’s right, one year later), Brown found out that she was the best match for this child – she matched all six markers that they were looking at!
How did you feel about actually going through the procedure now that it was real?
I’m a mom of two kids – I knew it had to be done. If it happened to my kids and someone was a match and didn’t come forward, I would be beside myself.
How did this affect your life?
I had a full physical and took only two days off of work during the procedure. It’s not an invasive surgery now. I had five days of injections that would force the cells to mature. It made me achy and my knees really hurt and gave me flu-like symptoms. I took some extra strength Tylenol but the pain was bearable.
Did you ever think of backing out once you started?
Not at any point.
When did you feel better?
There is some minor discomfort during it but afterward it goes away and it’s nothing compared to what the patient goes through.
What did the people at work think of you doing this?
My producer said I was a ‘hero’, but I don’t look at it that way.
Have you met the little girl?
Not yet. I did send her a letter and a blanket and told her the blanket was like getting a hug from me.
How do you think the little girl’s family felt?
I can’t imagine the emotions they went through to have potential matches and then their hopes skyrocket. If it's a definite match you have to wait until they contact you and the person commits to doing this. The donor still has to commit to going through the procedure before they get too excited.
What would you like us to know about this cause?
There is so much to know about bone marrow transplants. We need to get the word out that all you need to do is have one vial of blood drawn for bone marrow registry. Literally, it’s two seconds of your time and I never thought that I might get that call one day.
Would you do it again?
Check out City of Hope for more information.