I write this post with a heavy heart tonight.
Craig Brandmeier, the young man featured on MTV's True Life: I Need a Transplant, passed away yesterday.
Craig was a young man of only 26 years, a young man of great strength of mind and spirit and of great inspiration to many, myself included. Craig fought valiantly, relentlessly as he would say, against this end. He publicly shared his battle and was a strong supporter and promoter of Be the Match. There are undoubtedly many patients out there who will receive donor cells due to the drives that Craig and his family and friends put together, as well as thanks to those who were inspired to join the registry when hearing his story. His episode of True Life aired only weeks after the news of my own required transplant came. It was both impossible to watch and hugely healing to my heart. I will be selfish here and say that he represented hope and strength in a package that I couldn't find elsewhere. Though our diseases were different, our lives were very similar, and that was hard to ignore. Craig often broadcasted live, both in his home and the hospital, on justin.tv and I had the pleasure of interacting with him there. He allowed me to ask questions and offered frank answers. He was funny, frank and raw with his emotions in a way that few could muster.
Craig, if I may address you through the universe for a moment, thank you for your gifts. Thank you for sharing your story and your spirit and your purpose. You did more on this earth in your 26 years than many ever will. You provided comfort and inspiration. These words to you seem so hollow, but they are all that I have to offer someone who gave so much. You held the torch high, that many may see that donors are badly needed. Though I will spend the rest of my life carrying this torch as well, for my own obvious reasons, I will do so now for you also. Thank you, Craig. May you rest in peaceful comfort and your wife and family find solace in these days.
Please visit www.marrow.org to become a donor. For me, for my family, for the Brandmeiers.