FDNY bone marrow donor meets Iraq veteran recipient for 1st time

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Joe Torres has the story. (WABC)

Two men whose lives intersected and were changed for the better met for the first time in an emotional scene Wednesday.

Now, they are forever connected by a bone marrow donation.

Michael McCauley and Aaron Faulkner had their first face-to-face meeting, and it was a moment when a handshake and a thank you meant so much more than the acts themselves.

In October of 2013, McCauley was a 26-year-old firefighter whose bone marrow donation saved the life of the Iraq war veteran who was battling leukemia.

"I wouldn't have had an opportunity or hope for the future with my husband," wife Leslie Faulkner said. "And so it meant the world to me to meet him and thank him personally."

Suddenly, hopes and dreams came alive for the 33-year-old Faulkner, his wife and their young children.

"High school graduations, riding their bikes, got to teach my little girl how to walk," he said.

McCauley enrolled as a potential donor soon after his FDNY Academy graduation in the summer of 2013. Then, three months later, he got a phone call that he was a perfect match.

"I was excited," McCauley said. "I was like, let's go, let's start. Whatever this process is, let's start it because someone's life is on the line."

And it's not surprising that the donor in this case is one of New York's City's Bravest. The FDNY makes up the blood center's largest single group of donors, with firefighters alone accounting for more than 10 percent of bone marrow donations.

"I have a hope of one day meeting my grandchildren," Faulkner said.

It is a hope made possible by a man who serves his city to man who served his country.
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societybone marrowfdnyNew York City
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