Grateful Father of Memorial Sloan Kettering Pediatric Patient Pays It Forward


After signing up for the National Bone Marrow Registry “Be The Match,” a Montclair man was recently called to donate peripheral blood stem cells for a sick child. He was inspired to join the registry after an anonymous donor saved the life of his own son, who received a bone marrow transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering when he was just 14 months old. Here’s an excerpt:

Jiro Okochi [recently] donated some of his bone marrow in a simple procedure not unlike a platelet or plasma donation. All he knows about the recipient is her age. He hopes to meet her in a year, but already knows how she and her family might be feeling about what he did. Four years ago, an anonymous gift of bone marrow saved the life of Jiro’s 1-year-old son, Finn. The registry keeps donor and recipient unknown to each other until a year after the transplant, and only if both sides agree do they share the information. When their year had passed, the Okochis learned their son’s donor was named Melissa Budd … ”One of the glories of dealing with parents of kids who’ve gotten transplants,” said Richard O’Reilly [Chair of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Pediatrics], “is you get to meet some incredible humanity.”

Read the full story and find out more about Dr. O’Reilly, who founded Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Service nearly 30 years ago. Also learn about how you can anonymously sign up for the national bone marrow registry or donate blood or platelets to patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering.