Bone marrow donor may have saved a life

Posted at: 11/27/2012 4:40 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 5:41 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque man gave the gift of life to a woman he has never met. He was a bone marrow donor. It was something he signed up for, but never thought anything would come of it. But a few months ago, he was called into action. Now, he hopes one day he can meet the woman he saved.

He may never know who she is. The two both have to agree to want to meet, but even then they have to wait at least a year until that day can come. Matt Wesbrook is already counting down the days.

"Hello X Chromosome, and Happy Thanksgiving," Wesbrook said. Wesbrook is writing a letter to a woman he has never met. "I kind of have a feeling that I've probably cried more than she has," he said.

Right now, all he knows about her is she has leukemia and she needed his bone marrow. They are a perfect match.

"That's when it really hit me that I'm going to potentially save this person's life," Wesbrook said. "There's no guarantee, but at least I'm giving this patient a chance at some hope for at least a second chance."

Back in April, Wesbrook signed up to be a donor, not thinking much of it. In September, he got the call. He was flown out to California and went through rigorous testing.

Once he was cleared, he went under anesthesia so doctors could extract bone marrow from his hips. Dr. Ibrahim Ahmed specializes in bone marrow transplants at UNM Hospital. He made it easy for us to imagine what Wesbrook went through.

"Imagine... a needle going through your bone," Dr. Ahmed said.

It sounds painful, but Wesbrook said he did not feel a thing. A few days later, he was back home in Albuquerque, writing his letter to the woman he may have saved.

Dr. Ahmed said there is a huge need for donors who are minorities. If you want more information on how to register to be a bone marrow donor, click here to get to the Be The Match website.