Leukemia Survivor Meets Lifesaving Donor Before Mets Home Game at Citi Field

Top Quote Mets have partnered with Gift of Life for past 14 years to bring marrow donors and recipients together for first time End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) May 08, 2018 - An extraordinary encounter happened at Citi Field before the Mets faced off against the Braves this past Tuesday when New York resident and leukemia survivor, JoAnn Cotter, met her lifesaving stem cell donor, Michael Broker, for the first time. Cotter’s stem cell transplant was made possible by Gift of Life Marrow Registry, a non-profit that facilitates transplants for patients with blood cancer by matching them with marrow donors.

    Cotter, 66, was working as a patient liaison at Rochester General Hospital when she was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2015. She noticed black and blue marks on her body, felt tired and run down and had severe back pain. She decided to visit her doctor, who also happened to be her brother, and he immediately sent her for a blood test. JoAnn remembers the experience like it was a dream – going from a regular day on the job to being immediately admitted to the hospital where she worked. Once she was matched with a donor and was close enough to remission to receive the transplant, she felt excited and relieved.

    “All I can say is thank goodness for you and other people that donate,” Cotter said to Broker. “This is like an out of body experience, and I’m just so excited and grateful to meet you. To other recipients, don’t be afraid because it works. You just have to be strong and have faith – you will survive.”

    Broker, a 27-year-old medical student, was swabbed at Brooklyn College in 2012. He wanted the chance to save someone’s life, but figured he would probably never be a match for someone. When he got the call that someone could use his stem cells, he felt surprised but prepared.

    “I just want to encourage anyone who’s not on the bone marrow registry to sign up, get swabbed and join,” said Broker. “Many people are looking for donors, and there aren’t enough matches out there. It literally just takes one day and you can add who knows how many years to someone else’s life.”

    After their touching first meeting, the two took to the field together for the pregame ceremony along with longtime Gift of Life supporters Tova and Howard Weiser. For more information about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit: www.giftoflife.org

    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 www.giftoflife.org.

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