NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Several New York City firefighters were honored Friday for saving lives, but this time it had nothing to do with flames or smoke.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, firefighter Michael Wilson got an emotional hug after donating the bone marrow that saved Amy Alcorn in her fight against Leukemia.

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“He’s my hero, he really is my hero. It’s like his cells were made to save me,” she said.

“It was incredible. We’ve communicated through email and through the phone, and just to meet her today was a great honor,” Wilson said.

It’s also a rare honor. Donors and recipients usually don’t meet due to privacy reasons, but at this ceremony two recipients got to thank their heroes.

For Jonathan Ragland that special person is firefighter Frederick Perdue who said the process is painless and similar to donating blood.

“The donating part of it is very simple, there’s nothing painful. It’s slightly uncomfortable, that was it,” he said, “So many people have done it before to help somebody out.”

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Ragland was fighting a bone marrow cancer, the same one that took his father’s life shortly before he had his own transplant. The father of two said he’s eternally grateful to Perdue.

“When I had my transplant my kids were three and four. They didn’t really understand what was going on. Now they’re six and seven, so I’m grateful I’ll continue to see them grow up, actually it means the world to me.”

The names of eight FDNY bone marrow donors were added to the Honor Roll of Life. So far 179 FDNY members have given these gifts of life, in some cases more than once.

All it take to join the bone marrow registry is a swab of your mouth, and if you’re found to be a match you can then decide whether you choose to donate.

New York’s bravest are hoping their example will encourage more people to sign up.

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Members of the FDNY make up New York Blood Center’s single largest group of bone marrow and stem cell donors.