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Bone marrow recipient reunites with donor

April 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A hug, a smile -- how do you greet a person who gave you your only chance at life? Thirty-six-year-old Christine Pechera is simply overwhelmed."I can't get over thinking that it's his blood flowing through my veins," said Pechera. "It's his marrow in my bones. This is the guy that saved my life."

In 2006, Christine nearly lost her ongoing battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

She desperately needed a bone marrow transplant, but Filipinos are one of the most underrepresented groups in the registry. She appealed to communities everywhere for help.

"My doctor told me that if I don't have a bone marrow transplant, I have less than a year to live," said Pechera at the time.

But months passed. A careful review of her DNA revealed some Chinese genetic markers. Doctors frantically searched registries all over Asia. Kent was not a perfect match -- the risks would be high.

"In the beginning, because it wasn't a perfect match, we were reluctant to proceed with that, but since the cancer was not responding well, we thought this is the only chance she can make it," said Dr. Nadamanee.

Now two years later, Christine is cancer-free.

"I'm very happy that she's doing very well," said Kent through an interpreter.

"I'd like to stress the only reason that we found him was because he was on the registry, and had he not signed up, it would never have found him," said Pechera. "And I wouldn't be here right now talking to you. At least in this one story there was a happy ending and hopefully because of everything that we did there will be many other happy endings."

 

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