Maciej is from Pruszków near Warsaw and has a genetic brother, Brian. The former saved the latter’s life. The DKMS Foundation helped with this.
Brian from Colorado and Maciej from Pruszków are like two peas in a pod – genetically. When Brian suffered from blood cancer, Maciej saved his life. – Previously, no one could become my donor. My brothers, cousins. I had no compatibility with anyone who was tested, says Brian Howard. Earlier, Mr. Maciej, the chef, registered with the DKMS Foundation as a bone marrow donor. After some time, he received a call that someone needed him.
– You’re sitting in a chair. Blood from one hand passes through the machine and returns to the other hand. That’s it – says Maciej Bochnowski, a bone marrow donor.
The cells flew across the ocean and put Brian back on his feet. Back then, the men didn’t know each other yet. The donor and recipient’s data are disclosed to each other if they agree and when it is certain that the transplant was successful and the patient is in good shape.
Brian is in fantastic shape. It is his sixth birthday again, i.e. the anniversary of the successful transplant. He celebrates it in Poland with his wife, the DKMS Foundation and Maciej. – Brian got a second chance. We can be together, we haven’t lost him, emphasizes Madeline Howard, Brian’s wife. Additionally, Madeline and Brian gained a new family member. In the summer of 2023, secretly from Brian, Maciej was invited to the USA for a wedding. That was when the men saw each other for the first time. – It was a shock. He was coming downstairs and met me in the kitchen. It was like “I know you, but I don’t know you.” It took him a moment to realize who I was. Nice feeling, nice time – says Maciej.
The power of donors
It all started with registering in the bone marrow donor database. – All genes have been mixing for many millennia. It’s like a mixture that is scattered all over the world – explains Dr. Tigran Torosian, hematologist and medical director of the DKMS Foundation.
There are over two million registered potential bone marrow donors in Poland, which gives us third place in Europe. But the base still needs to be expanded. – We write messages to each other. Every day we try to share our impressions of the day – says Brian. – I keep saying that I didn’t give anything. What have I gained? Family in the United States. I have a twin – says Maciej.
Main photo source: Arch.Private