02/28/2013 11:34 am ET

Firefighter Doug Chiz Meets Angela Rugh, Woman He Saved With 2 Bone Marrow Donations

New York firefighter Doug Chiz might have made his greatest rescue without extinguishing a blaze. On Wednesday, he met the woman he saved -- twice -- by donating his bone marrow so she could fight cancer, CBS New York reported.

“The payoff is definitely greater than anything that I went through," Chiz, 29, said Wednesday in a ceremony at the Fire Department of New York's Brooklyn headquarters, CBS wrote.

Angela Rugh, now a cancer-free 22-year-old college junior in Pennsylvania, thanked her hero and told reporters she wouldn't have survived without him. Rugh was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma five years ago and twice received Chiz's bone marrow and stem cells. CBS also noted that neither knew the other's identity until just a few days ago.

According to the New York Daily News, Rugh had endured 18 months of chemo and radiation without progress when the bone marrow donors registry found Chiz. “I had no idea the extent of what she was going through,” Chiz told the Daily News. “The only thing they told me was that she was a 17-year-old female with lymphoma.”

Her fight against the disease took "guts," Chiz remarked to the tabloid.

Apparently members of the FDNY are making a habit of rescues off the job. ABC News reported in January 2012 on a similar reunion between a firefighter who also donated bone marrow to a grateful recipient. The department's James Wildes gave the marrow that helped saved Alise Marie Rose Williams from a lethal genetic disease. Williams had been diagnosed when she was just 3 years old.