Special bonds formed at the annual DKMS awards breakfast

November 26

DKMS donor, Cody Strull (left) and leukemia survivor, 59-year-old Max Stephenson (right) share a hug on stage after meeting for the first time.

Excitement filled the air as hundreds gathered at the Royal Oaks Country Club for one mission, to support those fighting deadly blood cancers. To date over 100,000 Texans are registered with DKMS as potential bone marrow donors, committing to the fight against blood cancer.

Student musicians from Parish Episcopal School greet guests with a special song.

“Each year, the Awards Breakfast brings together the Dallas-Fort Worth community and raises critical funds in support of our mission to raise awareness, register bone marrow donors and ultimately, help save lives,” said John Spinnato, CEO of DKMS. “We are proud to honor these local heroes who have played a significant role in our mission, inspiring so many others to register as donors and join the fight. Their unwavering dedication to our cause has – literally – provided patients with a second chance at life.”

Emotions were high when 24-year-old Cody Strull and 59-year-old Max Stephenson shared a hug on stage. This was the first time they met. Max was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Although Max had half matches in his family, Cody was the perfect match he needed to win his fight with leukemia.

David Monaco (left) and Nick Adams (right) receive their awards for their commitment to ending blood cancer.

“Max didn’t ask for cancer. He had never planned for this, I was his last hope and I didn’t want to let him down,” says Cody. “If I had backed out at any point, Max probably wouldn’t be with us today.”

“I really would like to keep in touch with Cody and be part of his life in that way just because he’s part of my life forever,” said Max.

Volunteers were ready to help attendees swab their cheeks and join the registry.

The Awards Breakfast recognized individuals in the community for their tireless efforts in raising awareness and inspiring others to register as potential bone marrow donors. This year’s honorees included: Nick Adams, DKMS donor and associate producer of the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick Morning Show, and Parish Episcopal School.

To learn how you can become a potential bone marrow donor like Cody, please visit dkms.org.