Stem cell donor meets Queens man whose life he saved

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Stem cell donor meets recipient after life-saving transplant
Lucy Yang has the story of an emotional meeting between a stem cell donor and the man whose life he saved.

WOODBURY, Long Island (WABC) -- It was a powerful and profound first meeting on Long Island Tuesday night between two strangers who are bonded for life.

One of them gave the gift of life to the other - a stem cell donation and then a transplant.

78-year-old John Wolf from Queens was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago. He had only months to live.

But then the perfect stem cell match was found in 29-year-old Marco Busen of Germany, who flew in for the meeting.

"I'm so speechless and glad to give another man's life back. You know what I'm saying," said Busen.

It's been three years since the transplant operation. Tuesday night's special gathering at a Long Island country club was made possible by the Don Monti Foundation, which supports transplants, cancer research and moments like this.

"My brother Don passed away in 1972," said foundation president Caroline Monti-Saladino. "Wow 48 years later, with stem cell and bone marrow transplants, look what we're accomplishing."

The Crest Hollow Country club is a special place for the recipient.

He and his wife had their wedding reception there 52 years ago this month. Never did the newlyweds imagine they would be back more than half a century later to celebrate life.

"I would do it again and again," said Busen. "I'll take it again and again!", said Wolf, as the two laughed and hugged.


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