A North Texas woman met her bone marrow donor in person for the first time at the top of a Seattle skyscraper last weekend. Lauren McCrary was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia around Thanksgiving in 2007. When doctors found the cancer, she had more than 70% leukemic cells in her body and the nurses who admitted her were surprised she was able to walk into the emergency room. Lauren immediately started five rounds of intense chemotherapy over six months where she was limited to staying in the hospital.
After the second round of chemotherapy, Lauren's doctor suggested that she go to Baylor Dallas and discuss a bone marrow transplant. Her family was immediately tested to see if anyone would be a good match but with only a 50% match, she was forced to turn to the national bone marrow registry. She was matched with a donor from Washington.
She knew she wanted to meet the person who saved her life but she could not exchange personal information until one year after the transplant. That first year they would swap letters anonymously. Lauren addressed her letters to Hercules because she thought of him as the hero who saved her life.
Eventually, Hercules was replaced with Patrick. He is a firefighter with the Richland Hills Department outside of Seattle. And his heart for giving did not stop at the transplant. He had signed up to climb in the grueling Scott Firefighter Stairclimb (73 flights of stairs in full gear) in Seattle, WA to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Lauren worked with the LLS staff in Seattle to secretly fly out to the event, get to the top of the building, and surprise Patrick on the 73rd floor when he finished his climb. When she saw him pop out of the stairwell she yelled "Way to go, Hercules!" He immediately turned around and that was the first time Lauren was able to look into the eyes of the man who saved her life.
Lauren said that even though she knows Patrick personally now, he will forever be her Hercules.