The Steps for Life 5K in Brighton, Massachusetts raised money and was an opportunity for people to take a quick mouth swab, which put them on the Gift of Life registry to maybe be a perfect match for someone battling leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.
The event happened 8 a.m. Sunday at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.
This year at the fourth annual 5K, the race was extra special, thanks to a powerful meeting of a donor and man whose life he helped save. David Llodra of California met the man who helped save his life one year ago.
The 51-year-old was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and needed a blood stem cell transplant.
Luckily, the Gift of Life bone marrow and blood stem cell registry already had a perfect match, Avi Guttman of New Jersey.
“Especially now that it's sunk in that I meet with the person that I was able to help them, and my help creates a lifelong friendship and it's really amazing,” Guttman said.
“After six months of the transplant no intervention medication. It has been over a year. I don’t have any issues for anything,” Llodra said.
NBC10 Boston anchor Phil Lipof emceed the event.
"A friend of mine had a brother who had leukemia in 1990, when I was in high school I got on the registry,” Lipof said.
The event highlighted the organization’s work, getting almost 300,000 people swabbed internationally and helping make 3,200 life-saving transplants like Llodra’s possible.
“They told me I'd be in the hospital for a month. In three weeks, my blood counts were up. I was home," Llodra said. "So thank you for very much."
You can find more information on the Gift of Life or sign up for the registry at the Gift of Life website.