Bone marrow transplant patients rejoice

Two sets of strangers meet for the very first time. In 2007, 10-year-old Kennedy Krauss's life was quite fragile. Her body stopped producing new blood cells. With aplastic anemia every day was touch and go.

"She had to be away from her family and friends and basically had no immune system," said Terri Krauss, Kennedy's mom.

She needed a bone marrow transplant. After an extensive search of all registries, she found a perfect match in Germany: 49-year-old Robert Benz.

"I'm so glad to be here and to help Kennedy that I can't express it," said Benz.

When 43-year-old Catherine Fuller looked into Patricia People's face, she saw her lifesaving angel for the first time. Other matches had come up, but they all declined. Patricia never waivered.

"There's no real way that you can say thank you for letting me be alive to see my daughter grow up," said Catherine.

Patricia signed up to be a bone marrow donor in her home city of Atlanta because she knew few African Americans are registered.

"I was not scared at all I was excited to get this opportunity," said Patricia.

Thirty percent of patients who need a bone marrow match will get one from a sibling, but 70-percent must rely on an unrelated donor match, a perfect stranger.

"It's really much harder to find a match and for those people we really just need a bigger base," said Dr. Anna Pawlowska, City of Hope.

A whole year needs to pass before bone marrow recipient and donor can learn about the other. These four waited a long time to meet each other.

"It's the embodiment of the idea that where there is hope there is life," said Dr. Stephen Forman, City of Hope.

And no matter what happens they'll always share a special bond.



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