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Stem Cell Donor Humbled To Meet Woman Whose Life He Saved

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CBS Boston (con't)

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SHARON (CBS) – A Sharon father of two made a trip to New York last week for a meeting he’d looked forward to for some time. It brought him face-to-face with the woman whose life he saved. The experience was far more humbling than he expected.

Family fun is a little more satisfying these days for Scott Berenson, because he sort of feels like a lottery winner.

“You know you bought a ticket, so you know you’re in it, but you don’t expect to ever get that call,” said Scott.

That call informed Scott that a DNA mouth swab done years earlier, at an event organized by his wife, indicated he was a pretty good match for a stranger in need.

So he headed to Dana-Farber where they harvested his stem cells.

“I know that if I were in the same position I would want them to help me,” Scott said.

His gift was followed by the typical anonymous letters between donor and recipient, until last week, when Scott and his family got to meet the Connecticut woman whose acute myeloid leukemia is now in remission thanks to Scott’s stem cells.

“You’re speechless,” says Alison Berenson. “There are no words to convey how moving it was.”

Especially because the woman Scott saved, is the mother of a young child, the nucleus of a family much like the Berenson crew. The bond was instant and powerful.

“It was almost like a family reunion of sorts except it wasn’t my family,” said Scott. “If that makes any sense.”

It makes perfect sense to the Berensons who would love to see more Americans join the national bone marrow registry where Scott believes giving is just as rewarding as getting.

“It was an incredible feeling,” said Scott. “One of those things you’ll never forget.”

Because the life you save and the lives you impact may mirror your own.

Only about 30 percent of those who need a bone marrow or stem cell transplant find a suitable family member to donate. 70 percent must rely on a match with a stranger.

Gift of Life and Be the Match are both hooked into the National Marrow Donor Program. In most cases, all it takes to join the donor pool is a simple DNA mouth swab that takes about 15 seconds.

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