Donor: 'It Was Absolutely Amazing To Meet Her In Person And Meet Her Family'

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Nearly a decade after a successful bone marrow transplant at Hackensack University Medical Center, a local teen met the woman who gave her the gift of life.

Erin Barone, now 17, was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 1997 and underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in 2003. Her doctors marveled at how far she has come since the transplant.

“Being able to meet her donor and to sort of see how she’s grown up and become this wonderful young woman is pretty incredible,” Dr. Kevin Slavin told CBS 2’s Dana Tyler on Monday.

Barone’s family had been in touch for years with Cheryl Pogue of Saskatchewan, Canada. Pogue said she was happy to be able to help a complete stranger.

“My cousin needed a bone marrow transplant and so the whole family got on the registry and I was not a match for her. But I became a match for Erin a few years later,” Pogue told Tyler. “It was just absolutely amazing to meet her in person and meet her family. I can’t image what they’ve gone through.”

Doctors said they hope Pogue’s selfless gift of life will be an inspiration to others.

“It just shows how life-saving and important being a donor is for young children,” Slavin said.

The pediatric bone marrow transplant program began at Hackensack University Medical Center in 1990 and remains the only pediatric transplant service of its kind in New Jersey.

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