Local coach's donation saves a young life
JAMISON, Pa. - June 1, 2011 (WPVI) -- He is the fencing coach at Swarthmore College, and he savors every victory, but no triumph can compare to the experience he had this spring when he probably saved a young boy's life.
Home video of Marshal Davis from Jamison, Bucks County shows him meeting the little boy whose life he likely saved.
It all started a decade ago, when Marshal was still in college and signed up to be a blood and stem cell donor.
"I kind of forget that I even had done the test. Then they reminded me," said Marshal Davis. "Oh yeah, I do remember doing that."
Two years ago, Marshal got the call from the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry after they learned that he was a perfect match with 5 year old Jacob Kowalik of Suburban Chicago.
At that time, the little boy's parents had recently been informed that without a bone marrow transplant Jacob was going to develop a particularly aggressive form of Leukemia.
Marshal, an attorney in Bucks County, didn't hesitate. He set up the procedure, and donated his stem cells, which were then transported to Illinois. Jacob's treatments began a short time later.
But it wasn't until two months ago that Marshal went to Chicago to meet Jacob for the first time.
He says there's no way to describe what he was feeling.
"It's unbelievable I really can't put it into words. I never thought that I'd have the opportunity to save a life," said Marshal.
We're happy to report that Jacob is cancer-free. But he's now dealing with what's referred to as "graft vs. host" disease, which results in a terrible allergic reaction including severe bloating.
Still, his doctors say Jacob's overall prognosis is good.
Jacob's father, Michael, told Action News, "We can't even express the gratitude we feel toward a man we didn't even know until this past April. It's been a difficult time, but Marshal's selfless act has made all the difference."
Marshal says that's a reward in itself.For more information about the "Gift of Life" vist their website at giftoflife.org.
pennsylvania, local/state, walter perez
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