After serving eight years in the Army National Guard and a tour in Iraq, Mike Laureano kept saving lives when he returned home. In 2014 he saw a Be The Match sign-up table while walking to class at Wilmington University and after learning what the organization does, he signed up on the spot to be a bone marrow or blood platelet donor.
They swabbed Laureano’s cheek and he was on his way, not really thinking he’d get the chance to be the match for someone because his mom had been on the registry for 25 years without a match. But about a year later, the vet got a call explaining he was a potential match for a little girl with leukemia. After further testing, he was determined to be a perfect match for Adriana Aviles, a little girl he’d never met who was 2,000 miles away from Delaware in Utah.
Laureano donated bone marrow to Adriana, saving her and allowing her to live a healthy life. Donors and recipients aren’t allowed to have contact for a year after the surgery, but once that time frame passed, Adriana’s mom reached out to Laureano to thank him. He’s now met the little girl he saved in person and there were tears of gratitude shed.
Their story has gone viral and Be The Match has started using a custom registration link to track all the folks who have been so inspired by their story that they’ve signed up for the bone marrow registry. As of now, that number is 1,100 and climbing.