LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -- Kenton Felmlee says his dad and a high school teacher donated bone marrow and saved a life, that inspired him to join the Be The Match Donor Registry.
Sophomore Kenton Felmlee is studying pre-med hoping to one day become a doctor. He grew up watching his dad get treatment for CVID, a disorder that impairs the immune system. Those experiences encouraged him to join the Be The Match Donor Registry.
“There are a lot of times he’d come home from work and be extremely sick,” Felmlee said.
When Felmlee got the call that he was the best match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant, his dad was by his side for surgery.
“I went under anesthesia. Fell asleep and woke up and it was over with,” Felmlee said.
Meanwhile in Missouri, Laila Anderson who was battling a deadly immunodeficiency disease needed a bone marrow match. For months, Felmlee didn’t know who he was helping.
“There were a lot of times I’d be in class and I couldn’t focus because all I could think about is, there is somebody out there who, in a way unexplainable, is connected to me. I felt that connection undoubtedly,” Felmlee said.
Then, it happened. He learned the life he saved was Anderson’s. He quickly caught up on what she had been up to such as inspiring the city of St. Louis and motivating a hockey team to a Stanley Cup victory.
“I knew this could give her the chance to have a regular life, to be a happy kid,” Felmlee said.
The 11-year-old who wouldn’t give up and spread so much hope, now has her very own bobblehead and Stanley Cup Championship ring that was hand delivered by her boys, the St. Louis Blues.
“I think it’s hard for me to put into words how much she means to me and how much she inspired me,” Felmlee said.
The two will meet face to face for the first time December 5 during a Be The Match Soiree in St. Louis.
“I truly can’t wait to wrap her in a hug and tell her how much she means to me,” Felmlee said.
You can watch the emotional reunion on a live stream by purchasing a virtual ticket for $100. That $100 covers the cost of adding one person to the Be The Match Donor Registry. Felmlee hopes you will donate to the cause or join the registry.
“It’s giving the gift that all of us have of life and helping someone else have it,” Felmlee said.