Vincent Pan's bone marrow donation saved the life of 13-year-old Vicky Tran. They met for the first time Wednesday. Jodi Hernandez reports.
Vincent Pan never dreamed signing up for the National Bone Marrow Registry five years ago would someday lead to an emotional celebration.
It turns out Pan's bone marrow was a near perfect match for a 13-year old San Francisco girl who had leukemia.
Wednesday, on the 1-year anniversary of Vicky Tran's transplant operation, the two met at the UCSF Medical Center for the first time.
"I want him to know he saved my life and did a really good thing," said Vicky, who gave her donor a thank you card and a huge hug.
Pan said donating his bone marrow was a no-brainer.
"I think of all the different people involved, I probably had one of the easiest jobs. To show up for easy blood tests and draws and to have a little bit of time at the hospital it really wasn't much work on my end," said Pan.
But his gift was huge. Minorities make up just 15-percent of people on the National Bone Marrow Registry. Doctors say finding a match for Asians, Hispanics and African Americans is extremely tough.
"Your chance of finding a donor depends on your ethnic background so for underrepresented minorities we have a very hard time finding donors," said Dr. Chris Dvorak.
The reunion between donor and recipient is rare, but both Pan and little Vicky hope their story inspires others so finding a life-saving match can someday become routine.
"I would encourage them to sign up because it could really save someone's life. I wouldn't be around if Vincent hadn't joined the donor program," said Vicky.
To learn more about the the One to Save a Life Asian American Donor Program, call 800-593-6667