My wife and I happened to be in a Sayville, New York, one afternoon and knew of a bone marrow drive that was taking place. We stopped by and were swabbed—the process was extremely easy. After talking to some of the volunteers and reading the materials, it became clear that there was little chance either of us would ever be called.
Amazingly, within a few months, I received the call that I was a possible match. I could not believe how quickly I was called.
I went through the screening process and after my blood work was completed, I learned that I would be a good match. The donation itself was a breeze. I spent a day in the blood bank of the hospital watching the World Cup from a hospital bed. For a person with a busy lifestyle, it was actually pretty enjoyable.
DKMS called to check on me for the next year and gave me brief updates on the patient. The donation appeared to have gone well and she was improving. However, 18 months after I donated, DKMS informed me that the patient was not doing well. They explained that another donation could possibly help. I agreed to go through the process again.
The second procedure went well. DKMS continued to give me updates on the patient and asked if I wanted to contact her. I was extremely excited to find out who the patient was. I was told the recipient was a young woman from Germany and was given her contact information.
We began emailing another and exchanged pictures and stories. She told me she had been sick for so long and my donation was the only thing that saved her life.
About a year after our initial emails, I was fortunate enough to win a trip to Italy. Since I would be so close to Germany, my patient and I arranged to meet in Rome. She and her husband drove from Germany and my wife and I met them at the Trevi Fountain. It was an amazing experience—one that my wife and I will never forget.
This past summer, the patient spent a week with us on Long Island and told me that she's completely cured of leukemia. Now she can have a normal life. This is truly a miracle and I am so happy and so grateful for this experience.