Woman saved by bone marrow transplant sets out to pay it forward

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two years ago, Joselyn Miller became very weak. She went to several doctors and specialists, but no one knew what was wrong.

"I could not bend my arms, could not bend my legs, couldn't even open my mouth and it was just getting worse and worse," said Joselyn.

Her son, Rex Miller, knew his mother might die.

"The doctor said there was a 30 percent chance that she wasn't going to make it. I was just so distraught," he said.

Finally, a neurologist diagnosed her with Shulman's syndrome, an extremely rare disease with no cure. It can lead to leukemia so she began chemotherapy and taking hundreds of pills.

But nothing worked.

"My bone marrow stopped producing white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets," Joselyn recalled.

She endured more than 100 blood transfusions just to survive.

Doctors told her only a bone marrow transplant would save her. Her brother, a perfect match, agreed to be her donor.

After the procedure, she grew stronger and committed herself to finding donors for others.

"[There are] thousands of people looking for a match, literally hanging onto life. So that's a major goal of ours," said Joselyn.

Just three months after hosting a bone marrow drive, her son Rex was told he was a perfect match for a man in desperate need. On Tuesday, he donated his stem cells to the man in Italy.

Rex said it was an easy decision, especially knowing a donation just like his kept his mom alive.

"To be able to save a life from that, it's just, I don't think there's anything you can do that's better," he said.

For more information on how you can become a donor, go to bethematch.org.

Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.