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Friday, September 19, 2014

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Bone marrow donor speaks to parents of the girl he saved

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Jeremy Braverman

TORONTO — Jeremy Braverman, 29, a Toronto native living in Chicago, recently had an emotional phone call with two strangers in California.

The man and woman are the parents of Lindsey Krueger, now 18, to whom Braverman donated bone marrow when Lindsey was 15.

Braverman registered with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, a bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood registry, in 2005, while he was a student at York University.

The school’s local Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity chapter had set up a booth on campus, when Braverman, a fraternity member, was a second-year student.

He said that he didn’t think about it again until 2010, when he received a call  “out of the blue” from the foundation to tell him that he was a potential match for Lindsey, who had leukemia.

Braverman went to New York, underwent a physical exam to ensure that he was indeed a good match, and went on to undergo the procedure.

“The whole process was anonymous, but I knew her details,” he said.

A year later, he was called upon again to donate marrow to Lindsey, because her leukemia had returned.

Adam Krueger, Lindsey’s father, said that after Braverman donated for the second time, the doctors began an “infusion treatment plan where they would take the donor’s cells and infuse them into Lindsey’s bloodstream in an attempt to re-activate the fight between the host cells and the donor cells, with the hopeful outcome of eradicating the cells that formed the cancer.”

After six months, he said, Lindsey began showing positive signs, and now doctors have taken her off all chemo drugs and have seen no signs of cancer in her system.

“I cannot tell anyone how grateful I am to Jeremy Braverman for his selfless act of kindness for a perfect stranger. I can only hope that more people get tested and matched so that more people can share the same blessings we have.”

In a phone interview from California, Lindsey’s mother, Maria, said that she had no words to describe the emotions she felt when she spoke to Braverman, who now works for Groupon in Chicago, for the first time about six weeks ago by phone.

“Here was a perfect stranger who saved my daughter’s life. She is in Florida now at the Disney College program because she has always been interested in musical theatre. That would not have happened without Jeremy.”

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