Blood and Marrow Transplant Thrivers Come Together for MSK's 23rd Annual Celebration

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“There is nothing that energizes us more than seeing you return to your lives. So tonight, we say ‘thank you,’” said Sergio Giralt, Chief of MSK’s Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service.

It was a fitting kickoff to a night of laughter, hugs, and heartfelt tears, as Memorial Sloan Kettering held its 23rd annual celebration for people who received blood and marrow transplants.

On October 2, more than 200 MSK patients came from half a dozen states, bringing along hundreds of family, friends, donors, and caregivers to celebrate with them. They were joined by the doctors, nurses, and other staff from the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Service who care for people during their complex and grueling return to health after a transplant.

As always, the event featured incredible reunions. Geri Hotard, a BMT recipient from Connecticut, brought the crowd to their feet — many of them in tears — when she introduced Michael Meister, whose bone marrow donation helped save her life. Mr. Meister traveled to the event from his home in Germany, and now these former strangers share a lifelong bond.

Dr. Giralt remarked that just as the celebration grows every year, so too does the number of BMT recipients cared for by MSK. In 2018, for the first time, MSK doctors will perform more than 500 adult transplants. He also promised that MSK will continue its efforts to improve access so people can get the transplants they need. He noted that because of the MSK Cancer Alliance, many more people are receiving lifesaving transplants.

Click through the slideshow above to learn more about the inspiring people at this event, who have not just survived transplants but are thriving!