“I would do it again in a heartbeat”

One year after he signed up, Cole Kennedy got the call that he was a bone marrow match for a very sick little boy.

“They told me I had a chance to save a kid’s life,” explained Cole. “As soon as it sunk in what being a match really meant, I was like “Yeah – let’s do this!”

The patient, a young boy named Kaleb, was born with Beta thalassemia major -- a serious blood disease that eventually leads to organ failure. Without a bone marrow transplant, Kaleb would not have survived. Cole was his only hope.

Kaleb got his transplant in 2013, and now leads a healthy, active life. Cole and Kaleb were in contact in 2014, and got to meet face-to-face at the 2015 DKMS Gala.

It was a powerful moment when Kaleb looked into the eyes of his lifesaver for the very first time. As Kaleb gazed up at Cole, the expression of gratitude and wonder on the 7-year-old’s face lit up the room.

This is such a small thing: one surgery on one day. But when you think of how huge it is in the way it affects someone else’s life – it’s massive,” said Cole. “It’s cool that I get a chance to watch him grow up.

Cole is asking his peers to “sign up, stand out, and save a life” as part of the #uniquebecause campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the urgent need for more young people to join the registry.

"I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

The fact that I got to donate bone marrow makes me feel incredibly special and lucky, and it also makes me hope that everyone gets a chance to feel this way.

Join the bone marrow donor registry.