Gift of Life: Bone marrow donor, recipient meet for the first time
8:45 AM, Feb 11, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Alec Burkin is a college student from Boston. In 2012, he was on a study abroad trip in Israel when he signed up to be a bone marrow donor.
"It was there that I swabbed my mouth in a basement in a hotel in Jerusalem," said Burkin. "I definitely thought it was a good thing to do for that day."
Months later, Susan was faced with terrible news. "I had gone into the doctor because I had strep throat and I went in for my prescription and he said I don't like the way you look and he took a blood test," she said.
Leukemia was the diagnosis. Only about 30% of family members are a bone marrow match. Susan's siblings were not. Burkin was.
"I knew then and there I was gonna go through with it, said Burkin.
"Up until fifteen minutes ago I knew she was a 59-year-old woman and that's it," said Burkin.
"I wasn't aware how few people actually find a match right away, it wasn't until afterwards," said Susan who is visiting West Palm Beach from Chicago.
"She is so personable, has such a great personality and I can't wait to get to know her," said Burkin.
"I feel better now than I even did two years ago," Susan said.
Alec says bone marrow is now given through a less invasive procedure that is similar to a blood test.
If you contact the Gift of Life they'll send you a kit in the mail, all you have to do is swab the inside of your mouth and down the line you could find out like Alec that you're a match and could save someone's life.