Angel Flight East News

Your self-sacrifice saved our daughter’s life: Parent’s personal thank you to a donor

At Angel Flight East, we love listening to stories of strong heroes and generous donors battling cancer together. We were particularly touched by this story, which was posted by Be The Match, an amazing non-profit that serves patients battling leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases, by matching them with donors who can provide bone marrow or cord blood transplants. The beautiful story of Clara and John can be found below and on Be The Match’s website.

“Hi, John,

“Clara, a happy and thriving 2-year-old after receiving a bone marrow transplant from her perfect match, John.”

Her name is Clara Violet Boyle. She is very much alive and is a thriving 2 year old. I imagine that’s the answer to your biggest question. And I have no idea how to thank you or how to really begin this conversation with you.

Words cannot express our deepest gratitude.

At Clara’s 1-year anniversary of what we call her “Butterfly Re-birthday”, I began preparing myself to contact you. It’s kind of impossible to truly express our gratitude. But you beat us to the punch, and I was thrilled to hear that you shared your contact information with Be The Match. After we received our signed consent from the hospital and were given your contact details, I immediately Googled your name.

You were a perfect match.

Here is what I think you might like to know:

  • Clara was born on April 14, 2010
  • You registered with Be The Match on May 1st, when Clara was 17 days old.
  • Clara was 4 months old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
  • The specific form of her leukemia was high risk and because of an infection, we all knew her chances for survival were very slim.
  • You were a perfect match for her. You were a 10 out of 10 and a match for all of the other less important indicators, including blood type.
  • Your donation was 3.5-4.5 times more than required, and they used it all on January 12, 2011.
  • Your stem cells engrafted so quickly that they didn’t tell us initially, for fear of getting our hopes up. We were discharged from the hospital a month after Clara’s transplant day. It is usually 100+ days before a patient is sent home, and her hospital has never discharged someone that early.

Your choice gave Clara a second chance at life.

There is a lot more I could tell you. But I will begin to close this letter by saying that your blood is clearly running through my daughter’s veins. She loves football. When I told one of Clara’s nurses that we received your contact information today, she asked me to thank you on behalf of all the nurses who cared for her. Clara was a favorite on the unit…You made a choice that many people don’t make. And your choice, self-sacrifice and prayers saved our daughter’s life.

You have inspired so many others

I am grateful that your roommate and coach were able to publicly express the inspiration you were to them. I am also grateful to your 50 classmates who wrote you letters of thanks. I wish I could have been there for your speech at the Cortland youth football banquet and I look forward to hearing your story.

I’d also like to invite you to read my blog. It is almost entirely about Clara’s treatment and recovery. You can view it at:

With so much love and respect for you,

Brooke, Clara’s mom

Alan, Clara’s dad

Rosalyn, Clara’s 8 month old little sister”