By Lisa Hughes, WBZ-TV

PEABODY (CBS) – It’s a first time meeting that will last a lifetime.

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A bone marrow recipient and the donor who saved her life met today, and there were tears all around. Anita Cutler from Peabody was in desperate shape a year ago suffering from Leukemia.

Joe Robinson, who is from Lowell originally but lives in Maryland now, was on the marrow registry. Strangers at the time, Joe was a perfect match for Anita.

Anita Cutler. (CBS)

Anita Cutler. (CBS)

“That was the only chance of my making it. I started out with a 5% chance, and now I have a 95% chance,” says Anita.

They didn’t know each others names two weeks ago, but today they met for the first time with hugs, tears, thank you’s, and more hugs.

“To meet her today and sort of know what she’s been through and see the other side of it, it’s really an emotional day,” says Joe.

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“Thanks to Joe I’m alive. He gave me my world back. I get to see my grandchildren grow up,” says Anita.

Joe joined the marrow registry 10 years ago with a simple cheek swab, but then he got the call. In a straightforward and fairly painless procedure, Joe donated stem cells to Anita.

Joe Robinson (CBS)

Joe Robinson (CBS)

“I felt sort of groggy and tired all weekend and I was back to work on Monday,” he said.

After Anita spent 11 weeks in the hospital and had three rounds of chemotherapy, the transplant worked.

“I went from zero to 90. If I didn’t get a match, I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now,” says Anita.

Joe became part of the registry through the “Be The Match” program. It’s easy and not at all painful.

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