File this under A for Adorable. Not long ago, two new friends got together – he from Germany, she from Kingston, Ontario, both of them youthful, attractive individuals – and hung out for a couple of weeks in our nation’s capital. We’re guessing they dined with family and friends, did a little sight-seeing. Nothing too remarkable, it seems (except maybe for the part where they got introduced to the prime minister of Canada).
Oh, and there’s the minor fact that the German lad once saved the life of the young Canadian.
That was a couple of years ago, long before the two met face to face or had even heard each other’s names. Mackenzie Curran was 16 and seriously ill. She was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant, acutely aware that fewer than half of people in her situation actually get one.
She also understood that despite the campaign organized in her community to encourage more people to join the stem cell registry, odds were that not a single one of those new donors would be a match for her. Much more likely, they’d be kept in the registry for a future person in need.
That brings us to Alexander Türk of Germany. He’d originally signed up with the international bone marrow registry seven years ago, to support a woman near his own town who needed a lifesaving transplant. He wasn’t a match for his neighbour. But years later, he turned out to be perfect for a teenager across the ocean.
So he saved her life.
Mackenzie and Alexander finally got to meet each other a short while ago and, judging by the news footage, could not seem to stop with the side-hugs. You’d have thought they were long-lost cousins. In a way, I suppose they are.
Right now there are over 25 million potential donors on the international registry. Does that sound like a lot of people? In actual fact, it’s about a third of one percent of the world’s population.
No wonder finding a stem cell match is still considered a miracle.
Want to make a miracle happen? All it takes from you is a cheek swab.