NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Queens man who received a life-saving transplant nearly a year ago from a Chicago woman finally got to thank her in person on Tuesday.

A simple embrace expressed the emotions words could not the first time Jonathan Franco laid eyes on Diana Delgado – the woman who donated the bone marrow that saved his life.

“I pictured a million different things in my head but…perfect,” Franco told CBS 2’s Rob Morrison.

“We searched for a long time for Jonathan,” Dr. Ruthee-Lu Bayer who performed the transplant at North Shore University Hospital said.

Simply put, Bayer said Franco’s myelodysplastic syndrome meant his bone marrow produced bad blood cells.

At one time, Franco, who is now back to work for the city’s Sanitation Department, was receiving transfusions twice a week. Now, the visible rash on his face is an indication that Franco’s new marrow is working overtime.

“That’s what’s keeping his disease away, but we see the manifestations of that with the rash on his face,” Bayer said.

At the time he was diagnosed his wife Leydi was pregnant and without Delgado’s donation, he may have never become a father.

“My son is everything to me and because of her I was able to see him you know,” an emotional Franco said.

“I have my kids and they go first in my life so in some way I know how he feels about that,” Delgado said.

Franco and his wife’s young son is now a happy and healthy — just like his dad. Franco said he wants more than anything for Delgado to know her gift was worth it.

“I’m a good guy, you know, and I deserved it…so it’s great,” Franco chuckled.

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