Guam teacher going to Hawaii to donate stem cells and save a stranger’s life

Maddie Martinez is packing her bags and getting ready for a life-changing experience.

A local Guam teacher is heading to Hawaii to donate stem cells and help save a stranger’s life.

Maddie Martinez is packing her bags and getting ready for a life-changing experience.

“I’m excited. I’m nervous. But I just feel that I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Martinez said.

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The kindergarten teacher at St. Francis Catholic School actually first tried to be a match in a local drive for a 5-year-old girl named Justice. That was in 2004!

Now, 16 years later, Maddie got the call to donate to a complete stranger.

“All they said was a female patient…so of course everything is running through my mind like, what if she’s a kid… you just never know. If she’s a kid, that’s even more of a blessing, but no matter what, I feel that it is a blessing just to be that match,” Martinez said.

Maddie says she wants to meet her match but the person receiving the donation ultimately has to consent.

After no activity for nearly two decades, this is actually the second time this year that Maddie got called to donate.

“You know, the initial call after my lab work, I think they took 16 vials of blood on that first call. And then a week later, I got an email saying that the process had ended. And so I felt bad, I took it to heart and was crying. I was like, ‘God what did I do wrong? Is there something wrong with my health?'” Martinez recalled.

Maddie, who is a devout believer, says it’s all part of God’s plan.

“I lost two… I lost my niece when she was 3 and then I lost my godson 8 years ago. And I felt very helpless then and yesterday was his death anniversary. And if I could do anything for him, for Mikah, for Amanda … this is it,” Martinez said.

When Maddie heads to Hawaii, the process will take several days.

“So the first 5 days are just, shots. They’re giving me shots. And then after that 5th shot, that next day it’ll be a 6 to 8-hour procedure that I’ll be sitting for that long for them to take the blood cells,” Martinez said.

Maddie says she’s setting up her classroom before she leaves for Hawaii so that her students feel at home even if she’s not there for the first few days.

Maddie and her husband Shaun start their journey next Thursday, July 23.