Bone marrow recipient meets life-saving donor

John Ciempa, a 66-year-old husband and father of two, and his bone marrow donor, New York City firefighter Christopher Howard, met for the first time this past January – nearly two years after John’s bone marrow transplant.

John Ciempa

John and Christopher sharing some New York slices after the ceremony.

John was diagnosed in 2010 with myelodysplastic syndrome(MDS) and underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and several blood transfusions. He was given only several months to live without a bone marrow transplant. In 2012, John received Christopher’s marrow and later opened a One-to-One Fund at The Bone Marrow Foundation to help pay for medical and living expenses, like insurance and rent.

During his lengthy course of treatment, John remained upbeat and positive – especially with the support of his family. He was finally able to go home after doctors gave him the great news that he was in remission. John wanted to thank the donor who saved his life, which he found out was the son of a police officer who died on 9/11 trying to save lives. It was a lifelong dream of Christopher’s to be able to help others and follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I just want to give him a big hug. I’ve been extremely grateful that someone gave me the gift of life back”, John said.

Read more about John meeting his donor:


About The Bone Marrow Foundation

Founded in 1992, The Bone Marrow Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for bone marrow, stem cell, and cord blood transplant patients and their families by providing vital financial assistance, emotional support, and comprehensive educational programs. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind that does not limit assistance to a specific disease, type of transplant or age range.

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