Monday, September 28, 2009

Grand Rapids man saves life by donating his adult stem cells

On September 27, 2009, the Grand Rapids Press shared the story of how Grand Rapids resident Chris Diemer recently met Jorge Rodriguez, a man from Florida whose life was saved by Diemer’s adult stem cells.
Diemer, 31, who works for Gordon Food Service, regularly gives blood at Michigan Community Blood Center on Fuller Avenue NE. He didn't know a lot about bone-marrow transplants until a worker asked if he wanted to be tested to determine if he matched anyone needing a transplant.

"I said, 'Sure, I'll do it.' I didn't really think I'd be called."

A couple of months later, he got the call.

He was concerned about the procedure. He thought he would have to undergo surgery for bone marrow to be extracted. Instead, stem cells were taken by a machine that drew blood from one arm and returned it to the other in a six-hour process.

"I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do," he said.

On Dec. 19, 2007, Rodriguez had the transplant.

"I was relieved and excited," he said. "I would have passed away. The chemo was working, but the cancer would have returned. It would've returned stronger. I would have passed away."