You saved my life, and there are not enough words to say thanks. I’m what they call a survivor, and it’s only because of you that I am.
A little over seven years ago, Matene was visiting a friend at the University of Massachusetts. There was a DKMS booth set up on campus that day. Matene is a 29 year old dialysis nurse from Springfield, MA. She swabbed to become a potential bone marrow donor at a college drive hosted by DKMS back in 2010.
“The reason why I became a bone marrow donor is to help people like me have these special moments that make our lives so special to keep living and keep loving,” said Matene.
In 2016, Matene while at work in Massachusetts, missed a call from a number she did not recognize. Matene listened to her voicemail and immediately became overwhelmed with butterflies in her stomach. She was feeling a million things all at once, but mostly happy, surprised, and excited. Matene was notified that she was a perfect match for a 21 year old suffering from acute myloid leukemia (AML). Without thinking twice, she donated her bone marrow to a complete stranger.
That stranger is 22 year old Marcus from Fresno, CA. Marcus had dreams of becoming a baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those dreams were suddenly put on hold when just days before his 21st birthday, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Marcus describes being diagnosed with cancer as “when you’re 20 years old you think like you’re invincible … you never think that you are going to be the one to battle cancer.” After rounds of chemotherapy treatments, he was told he needed a bone marrow transplant. His chances of surviving without a bone marrow transplant were slim to none. It is more likely for a patient-donor match to occur between individuals with the same ancestry. This was a major problem for Marcus since he is biracial (African American and Caucasian descent).
When Matene gave her donation, not only was she giving Marcus a second chance at his life but at the same time, she realized what she was actually put here on Earth to do. “I was feeling kind of down, kind of being unsure about what my purpose really is in this life and this renewed my sense of purpose,” Matene said.
Matene and Marcus met for the first time at the 2018 DKMS Love Gala on May 2nd at Cipriani Wall Street.
"I don’t even think I can put into words what this means to me,” said Marcus. “I’m so thankful.”
To view photos of the evening: https://www.facebook.com/pg/DKMS.us/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10157485294559691
“ We have a connection that can never be duplicated or replicated and that is because he has a piece of me, literally and figuratively.” – Matene