A Mesa father of six who was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia met and learned the identity of his life-saving bone marrow donor for the first time in Connecticut.
Mark Roser, 33, a sales supervisor for GoDaddy, was introduced to Jennie Bunce, 25, a personal trainer and physical therapy student, in an emotional encounter at a Gift of Life Marrow Registry event.
Bunce, a Connecticut resident, joined the registry in 2016 as a student at High Point University in North Carolina.
Roser learned he had leukemia in 2018 after breaking his hip, then re-injuring the bone and growing increasingly weak.
After a six-month search for a donor, his match was found in Gift of Life’s registry and he received a bone marrow transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.
Due to medical privacy laws, donor and recipients must remain anonymous and wait at least one year before meeting.
“It means the world to me,” Roser said. “My kids wouldn’t be able to spend their next birthday with me; my wife wouldn’t be able to be here with me tonight.”
“There definitely is a cure for blood cancer – all we have to do is help each other,” he added.
Bunce said signing up on the registry was a no-brainer.
“Donating life-saving bone marrow was similar to holding the door open for someone or helping a friend in a time of need,” she said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Since its start in 1991, Gift of Life Marrow Registry has grown to more than 349,000 individuals who have volunteered to donate blood stem cells or bone marrow to save a life.
To date, the registry has facilitated over 16,800 matches for those with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, and nearly 100 other diseases, resulting in more than 3,500 transplants.