Patient & Donor Meeting

Art's Lifesaver: The Unforgettable Jennifer Hudson Show Surprise

Arthur “Art” Ramirez is a loving husband and father of two who enjoys spending his time hiking, fishing, traveling, and teaching masonry to the next generation.

by Maya Ward
Public Relations Manager
Further articles

A few years ago, his world changed when he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and told he would need a stem cell transplant to survive. His family members were not a match so he needed to find an unrelated donor. Art and his family partnered with DKMS to help raise awareness of the need for more stem cell donors, particularly from underrepresented ethnic groups, and to host a stem cell donor drive in their hometown of Azusa, CA. Their community truly came together to support Art, and through their drive, they added over 600 new potential donors to the registry!

Fortunately, Art’s match was found in a DKMS donor named Rubie who had registered a few years prior after learning about the importance of stem cell donation while she was donating blood. Rubie was moved when she learned about the shocking lack of minority donors in the donor pool and wanted to do her part to help.

It had been almost five years since she registered when she got the call. Rubie was shocked and excited when she found out that she was a match for someone in need, but she had no hesitation. While the donation process wasn’t the easiest for her, she would do it again in a heartbeat for someone else in need.

Rubie’s stem cells were transplanted into Art in the middle of 2022. Because of the required year-long anonymity period, Art didn’t know who it was that saved his life. But, the two were able to bond via anonymous letters over shared love of the outdoors and Labrador Retrievers. In the spring of 2023, Art and Rubie were finally able to exchange contact information and began getting to know each other via text and phone calls.

But the two hadn’t had the chance to meet in person until Rubie surprised Art during an appearance on the Jennifer Hudson Show. Art thought he was going on the show to talk about the need for more minority donors to get registered, but little did he know that DKMS and the show’s producers had arranged for Rubie to surprise him on stage.

The pair held it together on stage and talked with Jennifer about their journey while encouraging viewers to register as donors, but tears flowed backstage. Especially when Rubie had the chance to meet Art’s family who expressed their thanks for saving his life. After the show, they all went out to dinner to celebrate the beginning of a long friendship that was only possible because of Rubie’s selfless decision to register as a stem cell donor.

Request a swab kit to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.

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