Mandi Schwartz Foundation bone marrow donor, recipient meet for first time year after successful transplant

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(WTNH) — A bone marrow donor and the recipient of her donation met for the first time Tuesday in a heartwarming video call one year after a successful transplant.

Back in the spring of 2018, Yale Women’s Soccer player Sarah Jordan signed up to save a life – to donate bone marrow.

“It’s a quick, easy swab of the cheek. Honestly, something you do and you don’t even thing about,” she said.

Last fall, she found out she was a match, so she made the donation and a little over a year later she wanted to know how things were going.

“I actually just reached out to the woman who organized the donation and I was just like ‘hey it’s been a year I would like to release my information and see if the person I donated to wants to meet me as well.'”

Two days later, a meeting was set up and as part of a Giving Tuesday Jordan met her match: Michael Silberstein, 52, of Los Angeles.

On the other end of the call, Silberstein with his wife and daughter.

Silberstein was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago and was overcome with emotion during the video call.

“I realized that when you see the person like it’s big,” he explained. “Like my whole body just kind of frozen and I just put my hands over my face and tears streamed out because you realize this person has so much compassion, so I just covered my eyes I didn’t know what to do.”

Jordan said of the meeting, “In that moment, you realize they become a real person to you a real family and I’m like ‘I helped this little girl have her dad still around, this woman to have her husband still around.’ It was definitely overwhelming.”

Nov. 13 was the one-year anniversary of the bone marrow transplant.

Silberstein says he is grateful to the Mandi Schwartz Foundation for helping him beat the odds.

“If everybody does something on the level that Sarah did through this bone marrow drive, through the memory of Mandi like the world is a different place,” he said.

Silberstein and his family hope their world will now include Jordan for years to come.

“We only hope that after COVID we can come to your graduation and that we could be part of your life and we’d like you to be part of our life as well,” said Silberstein.

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