Graduate Student Meets Lifesaving Donor at Annual Gift of Life Marrow Registry Networking Event

Top Quote NYC young professionals host party recognizing marrow donors and transplant recipients for bravery and courage. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 28, 2018 - Young professionals, and bone marrow and blood stem cell donors and recipients came together for a touching celebration of healing and generosity at Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s Celebrating Life event in Manhattan on February 22, 2018, which was hosted by the organization’s NYC Young Professionals Committee. Gift of Life facilitates lifesaving transplants for patients with blood cancer by matching them with marrow donors.

    The event featured a heartwarming first-time meeting between a donor and the woman whose life he saved. Sarah Anders was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in September 2015, a rare and potentially life-threatening condition that can develop at any age. After an unsuccessful year of immunotherapy treatments, Sarah’s doctors recommended she undergo a blood stem cell transplant.

    Today, Anders is a 28-year-old graduate student at the University of Vermont with a fresh new outlook and appreciation for life. “Things that used to rock me to my core, now seem more manageable,” said Anders. “Experiencing true hardship has changed the way I approach life for the better. Of course, there’s the downside, too – the realization that life is more fragile than I had previously understood. But that knowledge in itself can be a gift.”

    Brett Augenstein, Anders’ 25-year-old donor, felt incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to help someone so young, with their entire adult life ahead of them. “It’s amazing to meet Sarah in person,” he said. “This has been an unbelievable experience. I got swabbed on Birthright, and once I got the call that I was a match for someone, I didn’t really think about it after that. I just knew I had to help.”

    Other donor-recipient pairs were recognized throughout the night for their bravery and courage. Cassandra Imrie, a former Gift of Life Campus Ambassador and stem cell recipient’s daughter, presented her mother’s lifesaving donor, Jonathan Struhl, with the 2018 Celebrating Life Award. Struhl matched with his recipient, Leya Parker, in late 2013 when he was 26-years-old. He immediately knew he had to help once he learned about Parker’s condition, who was 47-years-old at the time and battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His donation saved Parker’s life and he has been an instrumental advocate for Gift of Life ever since. He was recently appointed to the organization’s Board of Directors.

    Cameron DiMarco celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his successful bone marrow transplant with his donor, Nick Hudson. DiMarco was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005, and three years later at the age of five, he received his lifesaving transplant. After being part of this process, Hudson joined the Gift of Life team as their Recruitment Manager and now serves as Associate Director of Development. He has since held dozens of drives on college campuses, which eventually sparked the creation of Gift of Life’s Campus Ambassador Program.

    Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. Gift of Life is dedicated to saving lives and facilitating bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood-related diseases. For more information, visit

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