“Thank you for your selfless act of being our daughters’ donor. You will forever be our hero!”–the girls’ mother, Michele, to their donor, Ingo.
Michele and Brett were overjoyed by the birth of their identical twin daughters Elizabeth and Kathryn. But within hours, they learned that something was terribly wrong. Both girls had low platelet counts, low hemoglobin and no clotting agents to prevent excessive and potentially fatal bleeding. The newborns were rushed to a larger hospital where they could get the intensive care they required. It was only the start of a long and difficult journey for the entire family.
The girls were diagnosed with a rare and fatal genetic disorder. During their first four years, frequent transfusions kept the girls relatively healthy, but they knew their marrow would eventually fail. Their only chance at survival would be to find a matching donor—a stranger willing to step forward to save their lives.
“My heart goes out to any mother who has a sick child,” Michele said. “It’s one of those things that you just don’t understand until you experience it.”
Nearly thirty years earlier, a little girl in Germany was searching for a match. Many people were moved by her story and joined the registry to help her. One of them was a young man named Ingo.
While Ingo was not a match for that little girl, he was thrilled to receive a phone call—almost 25 years later—informing him that he was a potential match—not just for one patient, but for young, twin girls both needing a marrow transplant. Ingo shared the exciting news with his wife and children; “We all rejoiced … I have a daughter who is now 14 years old … there was no question whether I would donate.”
Ingo is proud of being able to help this family and give these two young girls a second chance at life. “I encourage everyone to join the registry,” he says. “It’s a great feeling to help other people.”
Today, Elizabeth and Kathryn are happy and healthy nine year olds who love horses, doing the hula hoop and playing with their older brother Lee Roy. “They can now just be normal little kids again and that’s what we want for them,” said their father Brett.
Share the excitement as Elizabeth and Kathryn meet their donor for the first time .
Be The Match Gala
Elizabeth and Kathryn met Ingo for the first time at the 9th annual Be The Match Gala. Thanks to the generosity of attendees and supporters, this year’s gala raised more than $400,000 to help patients in need. For information about attending or supporting next year’s event, visit BeTheMatch.org/Gala.