Beating cancer is a remarkable achievement.
Because of that, survivors of the disease were recently honored at a banquet in Dallas. For one man, the moment was bittersweet.
“There’s all this joy I feel for being a cancer survivor, but there’s that other sad part of the story that I wasn’t able to thank, in person, the man that saved my life,” said Troy Alexander.
A few years ago, the 27-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. Doctors said he had just a few months to live.
“At that point, they told me the only option was to have a stem cell transplant,” he said.
With the help of an organization called DKMS, Troy searched all over the country and couldn’t find a suitable donor.
Until, halfway around the world, they found a perfect match. Sascha Roth, 33, lived in Germany with his two young children and his wife, Alice.
“It was Sascha’s job to save Troy’s life,” Alice said.
Keep in mind, the two men had never met, never talked and didn’t even know each other’s name. And yet, Sascha never wavered. His stem cells were flown to the United States to a very grateful stranger.
“The only thing I wanted to do as I was getting better was to reach out to him and tell him what he did for me,” Troy said.
Troy has been in remission for almost a year now. Not long after his transplant, he learned he would never meet the man who saved his life.
A month later, Sascha had a massive heart attack and died, which is why, when Troy was asked to share his story at that banquet, he struggled to find words. Troy paused, as he fought back tears.
He went on to talk about his overwhelming gratitude and that, one day, he vowed to go to Germany to tell Sascha’s family just how much his gift meant.
It was then, as he finished his speech, he found out he didn’t have to wait anymore. DKMS had flown Alice and Sascha’s son, Julian, to Dallas to surprise Troy at the banquet.
Troy and Alice embraced between tears. By living, Troy has gotten others to donate, which has already saved even more lives. All thanks to a man whose final act was to give.
“It’s nice to know a part of Sascha is still alive,” Alice said, fighting back tears.
“He’s given me a second chance and with that, I try to live the rest of my life with a purpose and definitely in honor of him,” Troy said.
For more information on becoming a donor, click here for more information.