Bone marrow recipient comes face-to-face with CT donor for the first time

National

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The Gift of Life Marrow Registry organized the meeting Thursday between a bone marrow donor from Connecticut and the recipient whose life was saved by the donation.

Jennie Bunce, 25, of Redding donated her marrow. According to a representative for Gift of Life, Bunce was studying physical therapy and joined Gift of Life through a sorority event at North Carolina’s High Point University in 2016.

“I never win or get picked for anything, but it just felt like the right thing to do,” Bunce told Gift of Life. “I’m just incredibly happy and grateful to be part of something so special. It’s similar to holding the door open for someone or helping a friend in a time of need.”

Jennie Bunce of Redding, CT the day she donated her bone marrow through the Gift of Life Marrow Registry in 2016.

Across the country in Mesa, Arizona, father-of-6, Mark Roser, 33, was battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He found out about the diagnosis after he broke a hip in 2018 and had continued weakness. Roser was told he needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.

“The hardest part was knowing, no matter how hard I worked, that what I did would not be a deciding factor in my ability to receive this gift,” said Roser.

10/17/19: Mark Roser, 33, the day he met his bone marrow donor, Jennie Bunce

The match was made by Gift of Life in about six months, and the transplant took place in Phoenix.

“She is a hero to all the people in my life,” said Roser.

“She gave me life, she gave my children a future with their dad, she gave my wife a chance to hold her husband, to have someone hold her back. She allowed me to go to work, to play, to see things from a different perspective. I am grateful for every moment I have, and it’s because of her.”

– Mark Roser, recipient of bone marrow transplant

According to Gift a Life, medical privacy laws dictate that recipients and donors must remain anonymous and wait at least a year before meeting.

The two came face-to-face for the first time Thursday in Bridgeport at the Boca Oyster Bar.

Since its start in 1991, the Gift of Life Registry has registered 349,000 individuals who have donated blood, stem cells, or bone marrow to save a life. The program has facilitated 16,800 matches and over 3,500 transplants.

To learn more about the organization and/or how to donate: https://www.giftoflife.org/.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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