Patient meets bone marrow donor

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - "Up until fifteen minutes ago I knew she was a 59 year old woman and that's it," said Alec Burkin.

Alec and Susan have been waiting for this moment for 18 months. They never met and live thousands of miles apart. However, they are an exact bone marrow match.

"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. 

'It was there that I swabbed my mouth in a basement in a hotel in Jerusalem," said Burkin.

Alec 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.

"I definitely thought it was a good thing to do for that day," said Burkin.

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,'' said Susan.

It was leukemia. Only about 30% of family members are a bone marrow match. Susan's siblings were not.

"I knew then and there I was gonna go through with it, said Burkin.

Bone marrow transplants are completely anonymous for one year. Alec and Susan never met until the Gift of Life's 5K race on Sunday.

"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," said Susan.

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