MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., -- One day during early March, Lance Cpl. Robert Carlile received a phone call from the Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor program asking for him to give blood platelets to save an anonymous patient’s life.
The patient suffered from Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a group of conditions that occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow are damaged. The damage leads to low numbers of one or more types of blood cells.
Carlile, a rifleman serving with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, immediately agreed to help and made preparations with his command to go to Washington D.C., to help a complete stranger in need.
“The Marine Corps has always taught me to help people in need, no matter if we were in combat or in garrison,” said Carlile, 22, from Roman Forrest, Texas. “I felt this was an opportunity where I could help a civilian back in the United States.”
The procedure took place June 27 through July 1. Carlile’s blood was drawn several times to give the blood platelets to the patient. He wanted to ensure he could give as much as possible to help save the patient, so he gave more than double the amount needed.
Carlile said the pain from getting his blood drawn was minimal so that made it an even smaller price to pay to save someone’s life. He was willing to do a bone marrow extraction in case it was needed.
Because the procedure was anonymous, Carlile may never meet the patient, but he said he is just happy he could help someone else in need.
“It’s just a really good feeling to have even if I never get to know him because I know that I gave my blood to give someone more time to spend with his family and friends,” said Carlile.
Carlile went beyond the call of duty to help someone in need by volunteering to donate his blood platelets to save a patient’s life, said Cpl. Tim Lafountain, a rifleman serving with 2nd Bn., 5th Marines. By performing this act, Carlile inspired other Marines in his command to donate blood to help those in need.
“He’s just that kind of guy,” said Lafountain, 22, from Roy, Wash. “He cares about others and would help anyone who needed it. That’s something that I would like more Marines to try to emulate.”