Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Gift of Life

I first met Paul Balthazard shortly after he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, about two years after my diagnosis. We spoke during his chemotherapy, shared the relief of his remission and the joyful news that an unrelated, and then anonymous donor in Germany was a match for a life saving stem cell transplant. I watched him prepare for the transplant, then recover and grow stronger. We shared the bond of adversity and survival, and our friendship grew. By May 2010 he was strong enough to join me for part of my cycle across Europe, and we enjoyed the beauty (and wines) of Burgundy and Alsace together. 

Two years after his transplant he was able to learn the identity of his donor - and she (a young woman in Germany) was able to learn whose life she had saved. They share the bond of life.

On Wednesday I leave for Germany, to travel with him to Bremen, so Paul and his life saving donor can meet, and embrace and celebrate life. I am privileged to be able to share such a special journey with a friend, and to photograph them together for Faces of Leukemia.

Follow our journey, and celebrate with us.

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