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Girl meets donor who helped saved her life

July 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
They've shared a common bond for about two years, but 6-year-old Kaili Nguyen and Mai Ha met on Saturday for the first time.

Ha flew in to Southern California from Texas to meet the little girl who desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. Ha and Kaili ran to each other's arms at the airport.

"I'm very happy because Kaili is very beautiful," Ha said as she was greeted with flowers and hugs.

"Thank you for giving me your blood and for making me healthy again," Kaili said.

Kaili was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a rare blood disorder that affects the bone marrow. It's the same condition ABC'S Robin Roberts developed after undergoing chemotherapy. According to the National Institutes of Health, 18,000 people a year are diagnosed with MDS.

Kaili was 4 years old when she received the bone marrow transplant at Children's Hospital of Orange County. Finding a donor was extremely difficult. Ha was one of only three possible matches.

Ahn Nguyen of the group Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches says she needed to find Kaili a Vietnamese donor.

"Getting people to register is very hard, but lately in the last few years a lot of Vietnamese people have come forward to save Vietnamese lives," Ahn Nguyen said.

Kaili's father, Tuan Nguyen, says his little girl is now an active soon-to-be first grader.

"We only have to take her to the hospital once a month now to check the blood, but in general, according to the doctor at CHOC, she's very healthy right now," the father said.

Less time at the doctor's office means more time for Kaili to take ballet and karate, thanks to a woman from Texas who now feels like part of their family.


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