Linked for Life

Posted on Nov 09, 2018

Owen with bone marrow donor Steven
Four-year-old Owen with Steven, whose donation of bone marrow saved Owen's life.

Four-year-old Owen breezes into the family resource center, chatty and happy, with his mom and dad in tow.

He’s meeting a new friend today. But not just any friend.

It’s not every day you get to meet the person who saved your life.

When he was an infant, Owen was diagnosed with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD)–a genetic immune system disorder that occurs when certain white blood cells don’t function as they should. Without a bone marrow transplant, Owen would have been helpless to fight off infections.

Two months after his diagnosis, Owen’s parents received joyful news from the national marrow donor registry program called Be The Match that a perfect match had been found. That summer of 2015, the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Blood & Marrow Transplant Team would perform the procedure, forever linking a desperate baby boy to a generous stranger who was willing to say yes to life. Owen’s life.

Now, three years later, inside the cozy resource center, a small crowd gathers around the family to share in this special meeting.

Owen’s parents know almost nothing about his donor, but Megan has imagined the details for years. She only knows his name is Steven.

A video flickers onto a screen nearby, and soon she is seeing Steven’s smile, learning who he is, hearing his heart pour through his words.

The video ends, the small crowd parts to welcome a beaming Steven into the room to meet the family.

Owen’s dad, Bill, is the first to embrace the man who saved his son.

Megan bends down to whisper an explanation to her boy, while trying her best to get her emotions in check. She fails. As she stands and allows her son’s donor to take her into his arms, the floodgates open. Tears flow as the two, strangers no more, hold one another.

Moments later, little Owen and Steven are connecting like old friends. They talk baseball and Legos. Steven scoops the boy up in his arms as if they do this every day.

Overwhelmed by the moment, Megan is struggling to find the right words… but soon manages to find just the right few.

“Thank you, Steven. You gave us everything.”

If you'd like to see more of Owen and Steven's story, watch the video below.



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