Three years ago, a little girl named Mira Erdmann was fighting for her life after developing an extremely rare and often fatal auto-immune disease. She survived the battle, thanks to a bone marrow transplant from the one and only person in the worldwide donor registry who was a "perfect match," ABC News reports.
Recently, the happy and healthy 6-year-old finally had the opportunity to meet the man who saved her life.
When Mira was just a baby, she was diagnosed with macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), a rare complication of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects about one in 1.2 million people, a fundraising page for the girl's family notes. If left untreated, MAS is fatal, and Erdmann's only hope of survival was a bone marrow transplant, WBAY reports. None of her family members were a match, so doctors placed her on the bone marrow registry.
Around the same time, a man in northern Germany named Chrestean Werth was inspired by a sick co-worker to add his name to the registry list. Within a few short months, he learned that he was a match to Mira, a very sick child half a world away. "That brought me tears," Werth told ABC News. "I sat at home. I called my wife. She was at work, and I told her, I said it was for a little girl." After undergoing the transplant surgery in Cincinnati, Ohio, Erdmann suffered through several complications, and doctors gave her a grim five percent chance of survival. But the little girl overcame the odds.
After Mira's successful recovery, the Erdmann family wanted to meet the person whose bone marrow donation saved her life, but they could only exchange letters, as the registry requires two years of anonymity, The Star Tribune reports. Now that the requisite number of years have passed, Werth and his wife recently flew to Wisconsin to meet Mira, and as the girl's mother Tania Erdmann told ABC News, he and her daughter are like "two peas in a pod."
"My part was the smallest one, but it's cool to see that she's now so happy and healthy after all that," Werth told ABC News. Mom described the powerful moment when the family met him at the airport. "We cried and we hugged, and it was just really emotional." She added, "I can't even describe it. I wish I could come up with words. You just can't."
(hat tip: Yahoo)