BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A blood stem cell transplant recipient met the donor who saved his life at the second annual Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation Boston Walk for Life held on May 1, 2016 at Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Boston, Mass. More than 600 people attended and witnessed the initial introduction of the pair.
Hermann, Mo. resident Derek Cohen, donated his blood stem cells in December 2014 to 67-year old Barry Martineau of Sun City, Ariz. Martineau, a retired social worker, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Disorder in 2013, and no one in his family was a match so he turned to the Gift of Life donor registry.
Cohen, 28, who joined the Gift of Life registry while on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip five years ago, said he didn’t think he would ever receive the call that he was a match, but never had any doubt that he would go through with donating when Gift of Life reached out to him.
“I think if there’s something within your grasp you can do to help the world, whether it’s your natural talent, spare belongings, or in this case just biology – you should do it,” said Cohen. “It’s just an example of the many small steps each one of us could take to better humanity and make a tough world more livable.”
Martineau and his wife Diane recently celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. Post-transplant he plans to pursue an adventurous and fulfilling life and not waste this great opportunity which he has been given. “I don’t view it as a second chance at life, but rather the same life, just more of it and hopefully a life lived that matters,” said Martineau.
Many in attendance swabbed their cheeks to register with Gift of Life in order to help those facing life-threatening blood cancers. All funds raised go toward underwriting the $60 laboratory costs associated with each donor kit. Anyone wishing to join the registry or make a contribution may do so at www.giftoflife.org.
Three more donor and recipient pairs will be meeting for the first time at Gift of Life’s Annual Gala on June 2, 2016 in New York City. In addition, the organization will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.
ABOUT GIFT OF LIFE
Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. As a bone marrow registry, Gift of Life is dedicated to saving lives and facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood-related diseases.