November 10, 2017

Positivity: 14-Year-Old Meets the Man Who Saved His Life Through Bone Marrow Donation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Ohio, and Massachusetts:

8:09 AM PST, November 6, 2017

Two families merged over the weekend as a 14-year-old boy finally got to meet the bone marrow donor who saved his life nearly two years ago.

Jack Eppley, of Ohio, was diagnosed with blood cancer when he was just 11 and doctors eventually told the Eppley family that Jack would need a stem cell transplant. It was a life-or-death situation.

Read: After Double Lung Transplant, Opera Singer Performs With Donor’s Daughter

Complete bone marrow matches are rare, and none of Jack’s immediate family turned out to be matches.

Once doctors searched the Be the Match Registry, a national registry dedicated to helping patients receive bone marrow transplants, it emerged that Jack had just two complete matches out of 27 million people.

One of them was Mike Reilly, who lives in Boston. This past weekend, Jack and Reilly were able to meet for the first time.

“We were just so very grateful,” Kacey Huffman, Jack’s mom, told “We knew that there were two matches on the registry but knowing that there are two matches doesn’t mean that everything is going to go smoothly. Those two matches have to agree.”

Mike Reilly had entered himself onto the registry 19 years before at the prompting of his father.

“My father, 19 years ago, said, ‘Hey, get off the couch. We are going to up the street to Grace Lutheran Church in New Hampshire, There’s a kid in town with leukemia — let’s go see if we are a match,’” Reilly said.

After 45 minutes and a couple of vials of blood, Reilly was permanently on the registry.

It wasn’t until 2016, however, that his decision all those years ago would come full circle.

Go here for the rest of the story.


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