Marshall meets his lifesaver

January 20

Carolin Roos was just 19 years old when she got the news that she was a bone marrow match for a man who lived halfway around the world. It’s a moment she’ll never forget.

“When I opened the letter and realized that I could be a match, I immediately started crying,” she explained. “It was really emotional. There was no fear – just a deep feeling I can´t describe.”

Carolin, who lives in Germany, was a perfect match for Marshall Matlock, a leukemia patient from Oklahoma. Marshall’s doctors had already delivered the grim news that his cancer was not responding to chemotherapy. A bone marrow transplant was his only hope.

With no matching donor in his family or on the registry, a global search began. Within weeks, Carolin was found.

For the teenager, the decision to donate was easy.

It takes just a small amount of time and you can save a human life,” she said. “Whether you meet this person or not, there’s a lasting connection nobody else can understand.

In fall, 2009, Marshall received his transplant. “It’s an amazing feeling to walk around with my donor’s cells inside me,” he said. “She is the single person on earth with whom I have a 1:1 relationship. I have her DNA, her blood type, even her allergies.”

Imagine Marshall’s astonishment when he unexpectedly came face to face with his lifesaver, just a few miles away from his home in Oklahoma City! The meeting took place on January 20, 2016 – six years after the transplant – during a visit with family. Carolin secretly traveled 5,000 miles from her hometown in Germany for the big surprise.

To save the life of someone by doing so little is an indescribable feeling,” said Carolin. “The only thing I ever worried about was when I finally got to meet him. I just hoped he would like me!

The word “like” does not nearly describe the way Marshall feels about his lifesaver.

I don't think there’s a way for me to fully explain,” Marshall said. “She saved my life. Words can never capture how much this means to me, to my wife and my family. ‘Thank you’ will never be enough.

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Marshall's Story