Journey of a Life

How a simple flight can change your life

If you are sick and need bone marrow transplant to survive, there is a chance in over 100,000 that you will find a compatible donor somewhere in the world. When a batch of bone marrow is extracted from a donor, there are only 24-36 hours before it can be safely implanted in the recipient patient. Because of the marrow’s limited lifespan once outside the body, and the patient’s preparation procedures which have to begin days before the transplant and cause an irreversible condition, if the package is not taken to its destination within this timeframe, the recipient dies. Such is the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of Carina Baumann, one of the 170 volunteer couriers of a Frankfurt, Germany-based shipping company, every time she travels with her bone marrow case. She has been trained to go to any extent to make sure that her precious hand luggage – which, in fact, is a human life – negotiates the traffic of crowded cities, goes through customs with no delay, passes airport security checks without being x-rayed, gets on the right plane at the right time and reaches its destination within that crucial deadline.

It is a race against time and death, and it is never guaranteed that everything will go smooth. This is the journey of a bone marrow which went from London to Rome to save a little kid’s life.