CHANDLER, AZ - A Chandler fire captain just donated his bone marrow to save a boy in Germany. It comes as his own son battles the same life-threatening disease.
Fire Captain Keith Welch may have new inspiration in fighting to save his 5-year-old son Jack's life.
That inspiration is knowing that he saved the 6-year-old German boy's life who suffers the same illness as his son.
Four years ago, Welch decided to sign up for the bone marrow registry.
In September 2011, however, his own son was diagnosed with leukemia.
"It was the worst day of my life," he said.
Over the past year and half or so, Jack has been undergoing chemotherapy and has been in and out of the hospital.
Last month, Welch got a call that he was a match for the boy in Germany. A few days ago, he went through with the bone marrow donation.
"It just takes on special meaning for me knowing what the family there is going through," he said.
Welch explained that only about 25 percent of the time family members are a match for a patient, which is why he said it is so important to grow the registry nationally and internationally.
"Jack is doing well and doesn't need a transplant at this time," he said. "We hope people will see our story and join the registry. If he ever does need marrow, we hope someone will be a match."
Welch said he only has limited information about the boy in Germany and will be provided some updates on his conditions. It will be at least a couple years before any contact with that patient would be authorized.
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