An army veteran, specialist Mike Laureano, continued saving lives even after his 8 years of service with the Delaware National Guard was completed. A year after his decision to sign up to be a bone marrow donor, a vibrant 7-year old is alive and well!
According to the army veteran, Mike Laureano, it was just a regular day at the Wilmington University, when he spotted the booth of Be The Match. “I was going to class, and there was a table set up for Be The Match. I walked by, and they said, ‘Hey come over here,’ so I walked over. They were looking for donors. I knew nothing about the organization prior.” Mike recalled his life-saving decision.
After a quick and easy cheek swab for his specimen, Mike continued attending his classes. “The expectation was one out of every four hundred individuals is actually a match. In my mind, I pretty much just thought that if I did happen to match somebody, it was meant to be.” Mike added, thinking about the odds of being an actual match.
According to the Be The Match, only one out of three hundred possible donors turns out to be a potential successful bone marrow donor. Fortunately, despite the odds, a year after he signed up to be a donor, he found out that he was a perfect match for a 4-year-old girl with Leukemia.
The then 4-year-old girl, Adriana Aviles, had not been responding well to treatment. For people diagnosed with Leukemia, just like Adriana, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, may be her only hope to be healed.
Jessica Aviles, Adriana’s mother recalled how she felt after knowing the dire health condition of her precious girl, “It’s just hard because you’re so scared and fearful because it’s your baby.”
Hence, when Jessica and Adriana got the call that they found a match and a potential donor for Adriana, they were more than happy and relieved. And after the successful bone marrow transplant, the mother and daughter have wanted to extend their gratitude to their life-saver in person. However, their desire to meet the army veteran took years to come in action.
As stated in the U.S. laws, bone marrow donors and recipients must not communicate with each other before the transplant occurs. A year after the transplant, they may send cards and letters to each other as long as it kept anonymously. Then after the first year of the transplant, they may share personal information as long as the two-party give their consent.
Mike recalled the day he received a message from Jessica, “I woke up one morning about two years after surgery, I had a Facebook message from Adriana’s mom, ‘You don’t know me but if this is you, I just want to share that this is the little girl you saved two years ago.’ I pushed my wife and said, ‘Look at this!’ I always wanted to meet them.”
Since the military veteran also wanted to meet the girl he managed to save, Mike grabbed the opportunity to meet Adriana during one of his cross-country road trips. Their emotional and heartwarming meeting will surely tug your heartstrings.
Watch the tearful meeting between the army veteran, Mike, and the now 7-year-old Adriana, who finally met each other years after the successful bone marrow transplant! May their story inspire you to sign-up to be a bone marrow donor and potentially save a precious life!
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