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Boy passes up trip to Disney in order to meet bone marrow donor who saved his life

1 year 9 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, August 28 2019 Aug 28, 2019 August 28, 2019 1:18 PM August 28, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ
Photo: Make-A-Wish Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL - When a little boy was given the chance to meet Mickey Mouse or the man who saved his life, 7-year-old Gabriel Smith decided to meet his bone marrow donor.

Make-A-Wish Illinois arranged for 25-year-old Dennis Gutt to fly from Germany to the U.S. to meet Gabriel, according to ABC News.

“Gabriel wanted to take Dennis to meet Mickey Mouse,” Gabriel’s mom, Lauren Smith, told Good Morning America. “When he had to pick one, immediately he said, ‘I want to meet my donor.’”

The family said the encounter was one they will never forget.

Right after his birth in 2012, Gabriel was given a blood transfusion and then had to be transported to a children's hospital two hours from the family's home.

Throughout the first year of his life, Gabriel continued to need frequent blood and platelet transfusions. When doctors determined Gabriel would need a bone marrow transplant, his family and community did what they could to try and find a match.

"They found Dennis through the Be the Match registry and on the day of the transplant they told us he was a 19-year-old from Europe," Lauren said. "That’s all they were allowed to tell us."

On October 16, 2013 Gabriel underwent the bone marrow transplant.

The family didn't learn Gutt's name until two years ago. Before, they simply called him "the hero."

 

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