Delaware man shares inspirational bone marrow donation story

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- A Delaware man is sharing the backstory on a video that's gone viral, which shows him meeting the leukemia survivor saved by his bone marrow donation.

He hopes it will inspire others to become donors, too.

Mike Laureano was a 24-year-old bank employee, a National Guard veteran and a Wilmington University student when he came across a donor registration drive on campus. He never dreamed that a year later, he'd save a life.

When Aimee Haskew of Be The Match signed up Mike Laureano for the bone marrow registry, neither knew he'd be needed.

"Only about 1 in 430 will go on to donate to a patient," she said.

But the call came a year to the day after he signed up.

"You're a potential match for a little girl who has leukemia," said Mike.

After rounds of tests confirmed the match, the bone marrow was harvested.

"I was asleep the whole time. But they go through your hips to get the bone marrow. I woke up later that day, kinda sore," he recalled.

For more than a year, all Mike knew was that the girl would survive. Then, he got a Facebook message from her mother.

"My feed just blew up with videos of Adriana, as she was going through the process from the patient side," said Mike.

He learned his marrow saved Adriana Aviles, one of the twin daughters of major league player, Mike Aviles.

Shortly after the transplant, she was healthy enough to throw a ceremonial pitch to her dad.

Mike and the Aviles family stayed in touch, and finally, this spring, he met Adriana at her home.

That video has now been viewed more than one million times.

Jessy Aviles expressed her thanks simply - she is here, because of him.

Because bone marrow is matched by ethnicity, Mike's Puerto Rican ancestry was vital to match Adriana's multi-racial heritage.

Now, he urges everyone to sign up.

"It gives them a better chance of finding a match," he said.

Haskew says a majority of the registry is currently Caucasian, so Caucasian patient has a 70%+ chance of a perfect match.

"The odds of a Latina patient finding a donor is about 40%," she adds.

"The need is real -we need diverse young donors to join the registry," she continues.

You can also sign up with Be the Match online. They'll mail you a kit, you swab your cheek at home and send it back.

Mike gave actual bone marrow, but 80 percent of donations are now stem cells taken from a donor's blood, which is a less-invasive procedure.

Haskew says this match made her feel like a proud mom, since she enrolled Mike.

"I feel proud, and kind of humbled - nice to wake up in the morning, and feel you had a small, little, tiny role in that," Haskew says, voice trembling slightly.

Mike says almost everything Adriana sends him includes, "Thank you for saving my life."


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