Woman Finally Meets Stem Cell Donor Who Saved Her Life

Pair introduced at Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s annual Los Angeles Gala

BOCA RATON, Fla., May 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two strangers, who are now deeply connected through a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant, met for the first time at Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s “One Huge Night Los Angeles Gala,” held at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on May 4, 2023. The pair was introduced onstage by comedian and actor Elon Gold.

Anahita Yazdgerdi, 39, of Lombard, Ill., was battling acute myeloid leukemia (AML) until receiving her transplant in 2021 from Rachel Barron, 22, of San Diego, Calif. Barron joined Gift of Life’s registry while on her Birthright Israel trip in 2018.

“I was excited and emotional when I got the news I was a match,” said Barron. “I knew I would go through with the donation to help save my recipient’s life. I knew what I had to do as soon as I got the call.”

Yazdgerdi, while frightened by the diagnosis, remained hopeful. She was astonished that a donor was found only a week into the search of the registry.

“I am so appreciative I cannot find the words,” said Yazdgerdi. “It is very emotional – I was reborn. I cannot thank her enough, and am thankful for the technology that makes it possible for a total stranger to give me this gift.”

Due to U.S. medical privacy laws, donors and recipients must wait at least one year before learning the identity of their matches.

Also honored at the gala were longtime supporters and advocates Lia Mantel Krief (Community Impact Award) and Art of Tea Founder Steve Schwartz (Corporate Partner Award). In addition, blood stem cell donor and volunteer Evan Dolgow was presented with the Steven Bochco Award. The organization partners annually with the family of famed television director Steven Bochco, who passed away in 2018 after a battle with leukemia, to honor a Gift of Life volunteer, donor or recipient who exemplifies the qualities Bochco was best known for: vision, innovation and storytelling.

Since its start in 1991, Gift of Life has grown to more than 438,000 individuals who have volunteered to donate blood stem cells or bone marrow to save a life. To date, the organization has facilitated over 26,000 matches for those with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, and more than 70 other diseases, resulting in more than 4,550 transplants.

About Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood-related diseases. The registry houses its own state-of-the-art stem cell collection center, biobank, and laboratory. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org

Media contact: Amy Glanzman, Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Office: (561) 982-2900; aglanzman@giftoflife.org

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bd5941ed-09d4-42cc-b7c1-1de35c7d4568

Gift of Life Marrow Registry