Bone marrow donor meets man whose life he helped save

NEW YORK (WABC) -- You could be someone's life saver.

Approximately 70% of all patients in need of bone marrow transplants must find a matching donor outside of their family.

A man named Steven came face-to-face with the man whose life he helped save with a bone marrow transplant on Wednesday.

Steven said he views being a bone marrow donor as a life-saving privilege. He registered in 2011 during a donor drive in his office, but didn't get the call that he was a match until 2017.

"I was a little scared, I didn't know what that meant, I didn't know if that meant a spinal tap, I didn't know what the risks were to me," he said.

But he says DKMS, the nonprofit dedicated to registering bone marrow and blood stem cell donors around the world, steered him through the process and made it easy.

He donated in memory of a friend's relative who died of leukemia, and with his own young son in mind, in honor of other parents hopeful to save their children.

"I couldn't imagine my child being ill, let alone terminally ill, and not being able to help him."

ABC7NY partnered with DKMS to delete blood cancer by holding a bone marrow drive Wednesday at the WABC-TV studio.

DKMS VP of Donor Management David Means wants everyone to know how simple it is to get on the registry. When you get the swab kit in the mail, you swab inside your cheek for 60 seconds and then send it back in the mail.

"When a patient needs a transplant, their medical team will initiate a search for a donor, when they find a potential match on our donor program, then we'll be in touch with you to educate you about the donation process," Means said.

Find out more, and learn how easy it can be to make a difference: visit DKMS.

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Sandra Bookman reports on the bone marrow drive being held on Wednesday here at WABC-TV.

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