BOSTON (CBS) — Boston College senior Kayla Hammergren was overcome with emotion as she met 4-year-old James Strejc.

Hammergran saved the Texas boy’s life thanks to her bone marrow donation after he was diagnosed with leukemia at 2 years old. They saw each other face-to-face for the first time on Sunday afternoon as hundreds cheered them on at the inaugural Walk For Life at the Chesnut Hill Reservoir.

“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s really exciting,” Hammergren, 22, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “I’m so excited that it actually worked.”

Hammergren signed up for a registry at a BC recruitment drive two years ago, doubting that she’d be a match. But even after getting paired with Strejc, she found herself worried.

“I was afraid, what would I do if it turns out that this didn’t actually work, how am I going to handle it?” she said. “I didn’t realize how much of an emotional toll it would take on me.”

Luckily, Strejc has come a long way.

“He is thankfully very healthy today because of this donor,” said Alec Burkin of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. “He is almost a complete recovery at this point.”

The boy’s family says they now feel connected to Hammergran forever.

“A part of her is going to be a part of him for the rest of his life,” Strejc’s father said.

Visit for more information about the foundation.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports: 


Leave a Reply