McConnell Airman saves life with bone marrow donation
By Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 26, 2016
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- "When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, the doctors told me that it would be very difficult to find a 100 percent match," said Amy Moffitt, bone marrow recipient. "Then, God sent me an angel."
The angel was no one else but an Airman from the 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Maj. Timothy Morris, 22nd LRS deputy commander.
Morris was about to PCS from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. to McConnell in 2009, when he found out that he was a perfect bone-marrow-donation match for a recipient who was in desperate need.
Morris donated without fully knowing who exactly was receiving the bone marrow.
"They give you some basic information about the recipient while keeping it anonymous," said Morris. "Once I was told that it was a 29-year-old female, there was no doubt that I wanted to help her out. All I could think was that I could be saving the life of someone's mother or daughter."
Morris finally had the opportunity to meet his recipient, Amy Moffitt, during a visit to a hospital in Atlanta on Jan. 10, 2016, after hearing that Moffitt had relapsed and would require more bone marrow.
While en route to his deployed location, Morris changed his flight plans so that he could pay her a visit and meet her face-to-face for the first time.
"I honestly felt like I was meeting a celebrity," said Moffitt. "There were tears, a lot of tears."
Morris wanted to stay in a hotel close to the hospital Moffitt was staying in, but did not want to cost the Air Force extra money, so he paid for the hotel out of pocket and was able to walk to visit Amy.
According to his co-workers, Morris is known around the squadron as a great leader and an even better person. Performing good deeds was no surprise to his peers and leadership.
"I've been in 20 years, and I've never seen anyone do something like this," said Maj. Robert Magee. "He did this very humbly and quiet; he never asked for leave or anything."
Seeing someone that you work with on a day-to-day basis perform a deed like this, can really instill trust in that person, added Magee.
"When you're in the battlefield, you sleep well at night knowing that someone has your back." said Magee. "He's taken it a little further. Not only is he ready to save the lives of fellow Airmen, he's going out of his way during a stressful time in his life to try to help save someone else's life too."
To Morris, doing the right thing, such as saving a person's live usually gives you a good feeling. But sometimes, it can be a hard decision. The major later found out that Moffitt had another match before him, but the donor backed out, which made him the next man up.
Donating bone marrow can be a painful process which requires weeks of recovery. Getting the surgery can be tough, so receiving it right before a big move can add a lot of stress to the situation.
"I was naturally scared," said Moffitt. "But I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, and I think that reason was for me to find Tim."
Maj. Morris and Amy Moffitt still keep in contact with each other and treat each other like family. The procedure went successfully, and they were both able to continue on with their daily routines.
"I never really thought about myself when I was donating," said Morris. "During the process it felt like I was hit by a car, but afterwards I completely feel like it was worth it. I encourage everyone to donate if they're thinking about it because you could potentially save a life."