WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) – When he was just 1-year-old, Caleb Nord was diagnosed with a life-threatening immune disorder called H.L.H.
Months later, he received a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger, saving his life.
Missy Slauter is from Michigan and had never met Caleb until Saturday, but she always wondered if her bone marrow helped him. She travelled with her husband and son to White Bear Lake to finally meet the boy whose life she helped save. They travelled to be part of Caleb’s “re-birthday”.
‘Three. I’m three-years-old. But right now I’m turning four,” Caleb said.
Caleb’s mom, Ann Nord, hails Missy.
“He’s here and he’s healthy today, all because of Missy. Because she joined ‘Be the Match’ and said ‘yes,'” Ann said.
About the time Caleb was being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, Missy was working in the health care field two states away. One day, almost on a whim, she did a cheek swab for ‘Be the Match”.
Low and behold, her bone marrow was a match for Caleb.
“Anything I can do to help make anyone’s life be better, I’ll will. It wasn’t even a second thought,” Missy said.
Caleb and his family had to wait two years to meet Missy, but it was worth the wait. And it’s safe to say that 3-year-old couldn’t ask for a better “re-birthday.”
Caleb’s father, Jeremy, said Slauter’s generosity was unbelievable.
“It’s overwhelming. You don’t know what to say to the person who saved your son’s life. There are no words that can adequately express the emotions you are feeling,” Jeremy said.
“For me and my family alone, it’s been great. Getting to know different people who have influenced by Caleb…and how he has blessed their lives, it’s just amazing,” Missy said.
“Be the Match” was at the Nord family’s house Saturday, taking cheek swabs from people to see if they are a match for someone in need of a transplant. Memorial Blood Centers was also there taking blood donations.
Caleb’s real birthday is October 8. August 25 is his “re-birthday” because it’s the day he received the bone marrow transplant.
The procedure took 20 minutes for Missy, and 13 minutes for Caleb.
His mom said it was a total of 33 minutes to save Caleb’s life.
“It was very emotional. I think every person in a 50-foot radius was trying to figure out what was going on because I had mascara running down my face and I couldn’t stop crying,” Ann said.
Caleb still gets an infusion of antibodies about once a month to help his immune system. Otherwise, doctors say he is as healthy as can be.