NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There were tears and hugs as 6-year-old Alise Williams met 37-year-old FDNY firefighter James Wildes on Wednesday.
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Wildes joined a bone marrow registry program in 2007, and when he heard the little girl from Evansdale, Iowa needed his marrow because of a rare genetic condition, he stepped up to undergo the painful procedure.
“I just remember being in a room with a lot of lights. They gave me a needle. They said to count back. I got to eight. Next thing I know, I woke up, and they gave me some apple juice,” he said.
The girl’s mother, Debra, choked up thanking firefighter Wildes.
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“There’s no words to tell him how grateful I am. I mean, she’s here today, because of him,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world to know that you’re a match for somebody and that it actually helped someone, that it worked, that it saved someone,” said Wildes.
“It’s above and beyond a miracle. I mean I know that God was watching out for all of us involved,” said Debra.
Troy Williams, Alise’s father echoed his wifes sentiments.
“Words can’t describe it. It’s awesome. I seen my little girl die twice – if it wasn’t for this man she wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
Wilde, who has two children of his own, was ready to help as soon as the call came.
“I couldn’t even imagine what the Williams family was going through. having two kids of my own. Knowing that I would do anything for them. When the call came to donate, I said absolutely, when they said it was a little girl, I said I’d go right now if you need me,” said Wilde.
The department gave little Alise a bright red plastic kids firefighter helmet, which she wore proudly for photographers.
She didn’t say a word, but her smile said volumes.
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