Houston wedding hosts 'swab station' for bone marrow donors

Bone marrow donation saved groom's life

By Erica Young

HOUSTON - A unique wedding was held in Houston over the weekend. The nuptials were not the happy couple's only focus. They used their ceremony to pay it forward and  to celebrate the man who saved the groom's life.

Larry Wilson and Stacy Klinegardner partnered with DKMS, a nonprofit organization that fights against blood cancer by working with families and communities to recruit bone marrow donors.

Larry has a special connection to DKMS. It helped him find a donor for his life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2011.

A year earlier, a man in Germany registered as a bone marrow donor through DKMS. That man, Johann Beissal, turned out to be a 100 percent match for Larry. The surgery in 2011 was a success.

Larry and Johann corresponded for several years after the donation. They finally met in 2013 when Johann traveled to Houston. The men have had a closer relationship ever since.

Johann was a groomsman in Larry's wedding this past weekend. But that was not the only special touch to the ceremony. Larry and Stacy had a "swab station" at their nuptials.

Guests and members of the wedding party were encouraged to get swabbed and registered with DKMS to see if they will be that match that could save someone's life.

Anyone who wishes to register as a potential donor can register online at www.dkms.org.

 

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