Since I had a stem cell transplant (also known as a bone marrow transplant) and was given a second chance at life from a complete stranger, I was looking for a purpose. What was I going to DO with my second chance at life? When I met Alex, my incredible, unrelated, genetic twin who saved my life, I knew that I needed to share OUR story to inspire others. Only 30% of patients find a matching donor, together we can change this.
I was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder in 2014. I knew that it could progress to leukemia but I expected it to take decades, certainly more than the 4 years I had before the leukemia diagnosis changed my life (and almost took my life). Within days of my leukemia diagnosis I had multiple tests and was told to pack a bag for a 30 day hospital stay for treatment. 30 days turned into 3 months with multiple complications, weeks in the ICU, organ failure and rehabilitation to learn how to do basic of tasks. The only option for a second chance at life was a stem cell transplant. Without a perfect matching donor in my family, I had to rely on a total stranger to give me more time to make memories with my teenage son, watch him reach milestones and grow old with my wife.
Alex signed up as a donor when he heard that one of his buddies needed a donor. When he got the call that he was needed, he never thought twice. He said, ‘it’s the right thing to do’. Thank goodness he said YES. Today, I am healthy, I work out daily so I have the strength to make the most of my second chance, spend time with my family, cheer on the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celts and tinker with my classic car. Life is good for me. I want to inspire others to get swabbed so other people know the goodness life has to offer. Go for it, order a kit: YOU just might be someone else’s Alex and give someone a second chance!