The father of three, a small-business owner, was born in Belize and came to the U.S. in 1982. When he had his adult stem cell transplant on Jan. 13, 2011, his nurse wished him “Happy Birthday,” signaling the beginning of his new life.
“Mr. Fuller is the poster child for what we do. There are thousands of other people like him who have been helped because a donor came forward to provide lifesaving stem cells that allowed us to do a transplant and hopefully cure the disease. Every patient who gets through a transplant here is the beneficiary of a lot of laboratory work and hard thinking that’s gone into trying to solve the problem – how to best cure the cancer in the safest way possible.”
Dr. Forman noted many patients view their adult stem cell donors as new members of their family, and often develop lifelong relationships. “They are ‘blood relatives,’” he said.
Mr. Fuller credited his sister, Karen Hyde, as being instrumental in arranging bone marrow drives in California, Florida and New York with the help of “Be the Match,” the national marrow donor program.
Adult stem cells continue to save thousands of lives every year.