Giving stem cells to save lives

December 13, 2011 6:59:41 PM PST
How grateful would you be if a stranger had saved the life of your child?

For most of us, you wouldn't be able to find words or ways to express all our gratitude, but one dad got a unique opportunity to express his gratitude.

Finn Okochi, 5, is a happy, active and healthy kindergartner who enjoys playing with his older sister Olyvia.

He wasn't always. Just a few years ago, Finn was a very sick child. He had been born with a rare immune deficiency disorder and his very life was in danger.

"I almost died," he said.

"His only hope of survival was a bone marrow transplant. Our chances were really slim of finding a match for him. No one in our family matched," Kim Okochi said.

But eventually a match was found and Finn was cured.

That is the reason, Finn's dad, Jiro Okochi, is trying to save someone else. Jiro is donating his stem cells, which will go to save someone else's life because some did the same for his family.

"Without that person, my son wouldn't be here today so I thought the least I could do would be give back and I'm very excited to do the same," he said.

The process of donating is surprisingly simple. Jiro registered to become a donor through

He had an injection last week to stimulate blood production, and then goes through a four hour process were blood is taken out one arm. The stem cells are basically removed. The blood is returned through the other arm.

The family doesn't know who will receive Jiro's stem cells. They only know that it's someone who may live because of this gift. Identities are kept confidential for a year.


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