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Marrow Donor & Recipient Meet For First Time

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – How do you thank a total stranger for saving your life? It’s a question Jenna Langer has been thinking about for more than a year.

Saturday night, that wish came true.

Only a hallway separated Jenna Langer from the woman she had never met; the woman who gave bone marrow to save her life.

“My DNA is her DNA now,” Langer said.

It’s been a long road for Jenna. At 26, she has fought cancer three times. The third time she knew it could turn into leukemia, and without a bone marrow transplant her body couldn’t handle the chemo and radiation needed to treat it.

An organization called Be The Match found 20-year-old Maxine Renning.

“She went in right away for her blood work. She went in right away for all of the things that she needed to do,“ Langer said.

Maxine was in college, hungry and looking for a free meal. On a whim, she signed up.

“I went to a blood drive. I was ineligible to donate my blood. I was on my lunch break. I still wanted the free pizza, so I joined the Be The Match registry instead,” Renning said.

Two months later, she got the call.

Jenna is now cancer free and finally got to meet her “bone buddy” face to face.

“I’m excited for Maxine to play a big role in my life and my family’s life. We’re ready to just really embrace her,” Langer said.

And that embrace brought tears to everyone who witnessed their meeting.

Jenna says she is thankful for Maxine’s humility, resolve and compassion. Maxine feels blessed to be able to help Jenna get a shot at a healthy life.

“My marrow runs through her bones. I don’t feel that special because I’d like to think that anybody with the opportunity to save someone’s life would do it,” Renning said.

Family members are not a suitable match for 70 percent of patients looking for a bone marrow transplant.

Be the Match helps “hook up” people who are a match.

For all you need to know to become a bone marrow donor, go to Be The Match’s website.

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