In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 15, 2019

After Bone Marrow Transplant, Christy Stubbe Takes Donor on Tour of Her Life

By In the Loop

Four years after testing confirmed Georg Lochner was a perfect bone marrow match for Christy Stubbe, Georg flew from Germany to meet the woman who credits him with saving her life.

Christy Stubbe wanted Georg Lochner to see and experience all that was near and dear to her in life. A life Georg had helped save by donating bone marrow to Christy after doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester diagnosed her with a rare form of leukemia four years earlier.

Told her only hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant, Christy began to lose hope as each member of her family was crossed off the compatibility list. Meanwhile, 4,000 miles away in Germany, Georg was making a bone marrow donation in response to a friend's fight with leukemia. "The same time I found out I was sick, he at the same time, was donating," Christy tells Fox Carolina News. After initially being matched by Be The Match, further compatibility testing confirmed Georg was a perfect bone marrow match for Christy. "He's a true miracle," she tells Fox Carolina. "Without him and without him doing that in September 2015, I wouldn't be here."

The first contact between donor and recipient came, the Sheboygan Press reports, two years after Christy's life-saving bone marrow transplant at Mayo Clinic. It began with 12 months of emails between Wisconsin and Germany before culminating with Georg flying halfway around the world last month to see, firsthand, the impact of his donation.

After picking Georg up in Chicago, Christy gave him the tour of some things important to her in life, the Sheboygan Press reports. The tour included stops at Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers play the Philadelphia Eagles (U.S. Bank Stadium must have been sold out), Miller Park to take in a Brewers game (we know Target Field was sold out), and the local high school to "watch her daughter be named to this year's Homecoming court."

At each stop, Christy made sure Georg knew that her being there was only possible because of his generosity and selflessness. "It has been emotional," Christy tells the paper of spending time with the donor who gave her a second chance at life. "You can see the person and look them in the eye and hold their hands. It's a deeper connection. … I'm so happy to be here to watch all my kids grow up."

Georg sounds happy to have helped make it all happen, too. Even if his reward was having to sit through a Packers game. "It's very cool," he tells Fox Carolina. "I like the Packers." (Acceptable, we suppose, under the circumstances.)

You can read more of Georg and Christy's story here and here. And learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor yourself here. Then let us know what you think by sharing your comments below. You can use the handy social media tools to share this story with others.


Tags: Bone marrow tranplant, Patient Stories

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