Adriana was only four years old when her life was turned 180 degrees. She was diagnosed with leukemia and she didn’t respond well to treatment.
Three years later she’s alive and well, and today she is going to meet the man who saved her life.
After Specialist Mike Laureano completed 8 years with the National Guard, and a tour of duty in Iraq, he enrolled in classes at Wilmington University.
“I was actually going to class one day, and there was a table set up for Be The Match. At that point I knew nothing about the organization, prior.”
Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to helping every patient get the life-saving transplant they need. As trusted leaders in advancing treatments for those facing life-threatening blood cancers, they provide the ground-breaking research, innovative technologies, patient support and education that save lives.
When their 10-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with leukemia, Robert Graves, D.V.M., and his wife Sherry were ready to do anything they could to save her. Desperate to save her life they turned to alternative treatment options and agreed to try the first ever bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.
Laura received her transplant in 1979. And it worked. The success of the treatment inspired the Graves to give other families the same hope for a cure. Thanks to Dr. Graves, other patient families, doctors, congressional support and funding from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow was born.
Mike continues: “In my mind I pretty much just thought that If I did happen to match somebody it must’ve… it was meant to be.”
A year later, Mike got a voicemail from Be The Match. They told him that he may be a potential match for a three-year-old girl with leukemia.
Mike called back immediately without taking opinions of others. He said yes!
Mike went through the entire process knowing only a few details about the little whose life he was about to save.
U.S. laws require that donors and recipients have no communication before the transplant day.
During the first year after transplant, it’s possible to send cards and letters as long as it is kept anonymous. After the first year post-transplant, if both donor and recipient agree, names and contact information can be shared.
Two years after the surgery Mike received a Facebook message from Adriana’s mom. She send him videos and pictures of the girl he saved two years ago!
Finally they were about to meet.
Make sure to subscribe to USA Today to see more amazing and inspiring videos!