How one #BaylorGrad’s selflessness saved a life — even before starting med school
Sydney Duke came to Baylor in 2019 with the goal of eventually becoming a physician, where she could help save and better the lives of others.
She had no idea she’s have the chance to save a life before she even earned her undergraduate degree.
The path to that opportunity began during her freshman year, when Duke met a representative from Be the Match while walking through the Baylor Sciences Building and signed up to join the National Bone Marrow Donor registry. Fast forward four years, and Duke — now a senior majoring in health science studies — got a call notifying her that she was a match for someone diagnosed with blood cancer. In fact, she wasn’t just a match; she was the match, the only one out of 19 million registered donors in America.
After months of tests and physicals to confirm the match, Duke’s procedure was scheduled, and just a few weeks later, the donation process began. Following five days of preliminary injections, Duke traveled with her mom to Chicago for the eight-hour peripheral blood stem cell collection procedure. When the procedure was finished, Duke’s donation was whisked away to board a plane heading to her matched patient.
“As I believe we are called to love one another and truly lay down our lives for one another, I was honored to endure any slight discomfort if that meant someone out there got another chance at life,” Duke says. “I would hope someone would do the same thing for me.”
While her role in the donation process is now complete, the experience will continue to impact Duke as her studies at Baylor conclude and she begins her medical school journey.
Following her graduation from Baylor’s Robbins College of Health & Human Sciences this month, Duke will attend the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio. She has also received a naval commission through the Health Professions Scholarship Program, in which the U.S. Military will cover Duke’s medical school tuition, and she will have the opportunity to spend most of her rotations in Navy hospitals. After medical school, Duke will have a naval residency before serving four years back to the Navy.
“Throughout both college and this donation process, the verse Luke 12:48 — ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ — has remained at the forefront of my thoughts and motivation,” Duke says. “This donation felt like my earthly duty, and will forever be one of my life’s greatest blessings and honors.”
Sic ’em, Sydney!
[For more on Duke’s story, check out this longer feature on her bone marrow donation journey from the Robbins College website.]