Lymphoma Survivor Meets NFL Player Donor

Roy CoeIn January 2016, Roy Coe received an allogeneic stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor to combat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Two years later, the lifelong Kansas City resident and former Union Pacific Railroad worker – who’d never before been north of I-80 – flew to Minneapolis to meet the donor who made his lifesaving treatment possible.

And that selfless individual turned out to be New Orleans Saints wide receiver Austin Carr.

Roy received treatment – led by blood and marrow transplantation specialist Sunil Abhyankar, MD – at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. The National Marrow Donor Program aided in the search for Roy’s perfectly matched donor. Together, the two organizations supported Roy’s travels, eager to facilitate the emotional introduction between donor and recipient and bring awareness to the impact simply joining the registry can make.

“I want to show my appreciation,” Roy said before the meeting. “This donation most probably saved my life. I owe him a handshake and a big thank you at the very least.”

And upon meeting Austin – not a dry eye in the room – Roy added, “This is just incredible. It is finally hitting home that people like Austin go out of their way to save people like me who need the help. I have overwhelming gratitude, and it’s growing by the minute.”

Austin, who had his cheek swabbed in 2012 when Be The Match visited his college football team, said, “Saving lives was never so easy. The price I paid doesn’t compare to the benefit Roy got. I feel glad and blessed that I was able to help.”

“I hope this encourages more people to register,” Roy concluded. “I hope people give it some thought and really consider it. You don’t have to die to be a donor. If you donate while you’re alive, you can see the results for yourself.”

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