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