Bone marrow donor from Germany becomes recipient’s maid of honour – DNA India

For 30-year-old Steffi Mac, life took an unexpected turn, when she was just 24-year-old brimming with ideas and dreams. The young woman was detected with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) or in simple terms blood cancer.

Immediate consultation with specialist doctors revealed that the only way to save Steffi's life was Bone Marrow Transplant. However, the lone solution came up with its own challenges.

As Steffi was the only child of her parents, there was no way that siblings could donate their bone marrow to her. Another setback was that her parents also could not donate the bone marrow to her because of matching issues.

She was taken to Christian Medical College, Vellore, in December 2013 where considering the risk to her life, the doctors and the hospital immediately started looking for a bone marrow donor for her.

However, not a single matching donor was found in the country. Eventually, the doctors found a matching donor from Germany in the DKMS registry, the world's largest bone marrow donor registry, and the transplant was carried out in March 2014. The transplant and the subsequent recovery was a painful process, but being a fighter, Steffi won the battle against cancer.

However, inside her mind, she desperately wanted to meet the person who saved her life. After innumerable requests and necessary permissions, she managed to get the email ID of the donor, wrote an emotional mail and then phone calls started between the two.

"I was communicating with her through emails and phone, but I just wanted to meet her in person, hug her, and tell her that she changed my life. For this, I went to Germany and when we met at the airport, we just cried like anything. I stayed with her for 10 days and it is a bond which cannot be explained in words," Steffi said.

Steffi added when she eventually got married last year, Aylin flew in from Germany with her friend and she was my maid of honour. Now, a lecturer with an Ahmedabad-based college and a corporate trainer, Steffi is actively working to create awareness on the issue of bone marrow donation and spoke on her journey against blood cancer on the occasion of World Marrow Donor Day organised by DATRI, India's largest unrelated blood stem cell donor registry.

On the occasion, three donors and their respective survivors were also present and spoke on the issue. The donorsDivyesh Shah, Binal Patel and Yashvant Polkar have saved a life and family by donating their blood stem cells.

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Bone marrow donor from Germany becomes recipient's maid of honour - DNA India

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