“I knew I would donate.”

February 11

On what started out as a standard Thursday night, Joe and his buddy went to see a new band at a popular New York concert hall.

What happened next is something he will never forget.

“We heard someone yell out ‘Do you guys want to save a life?’” explained Joe. “That caught my attention.”

Joe and his friend stopped to chat with the man. “He was running a bone marrow donor drive at the show, and asked us if we would consider donating,” said Joe.

Three months after he swabbed his cheeks at the concert, Joe got some surprising news: He was a bone marrow match for a patient with blood cancer.

When he thought about the significance of being a match, Joe felt a sense of purpose. “I couldn’t decide whether it was one simple choice I made at a concert or a series of life events that led me to that table on that Thursday night,” he said. “But I knew I would donate.”

In summer 2015, Joe donated his stem cells to help a woman battling leukemia get a second chance at life.

I had the opportunity to give her hope,” he said. “It’s the driving force behind the majority of our actions. It’s all people want in life, especially people who face adversity.

In January 2016, Joe visited the New York City office of DKMS to ring the “Bell of Hope.” The bell rings every day when someone like Joe donates marrow or stem cells to a patient.

After ringing the bell, Joe expressed his gratitude to his “genetic twin” – a stranger with whom he shares a deep bond – and a newfound sense of hope.

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