Imagine having to face the realities of life and death before being old enough to attend public school. For the unfortunate kids born needing regular medical attention to fight for their lives, it’s a daily struggle.
Kids are often too young to grasp the severity of the situation, having known nothing else in their short lives. By the time they’re old enough to realize what they’ve gone through, it’s too late to thank those deserving.
Adriana Aviles was just four years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Adrianna, now 7, lives in Utah with her mother, father, and twin sister. She was only four years old when her 2015 leukemia diagnosis rocked her family.
Amid a flurry of checkups, tests, and procedures, doctors informed her parents that she would need a bone marrow donor. They turned to a service called Be The Match.
To their delight, they were matched with a donor, and Adrianna was able to get the care she needed to save her life. At the time, the family had no way of knowing who the person who generously gave to save Adrianna’s life might be.
For the next three years, Adrianna recovered, got stronger, and got healthier. Then in May 2018, Mike Laureano showed up at the family’s front door.
Mike Laureano was the bone marrow donor who saved Adrianna’s life.
Laureano didn’t know he would be saving Adrianna’s life when he signed up to be a bone marrow donor. He said he became a donor because it was the right thing to do, not because he was expecting a pat on the back.
“I never signed up for Be The Match to receive any recognition or to become anyone’s hero,” Laureano said to The Daily Mail. “I signed up because it was the right thing to do.”
Because Laureano and the Aviles’ connected through Be The Match, the recipients of the donation are able to reach out to the donor one year after accepting the donation. They felt an obligation to thank him for saving Adrianna’s life.
“We have a bond with him that will last forever. Words will never explain my gratitude for Mike,” Adrianna’s mother, Jessy Aviles said to Inside Edition.
“I wish I could hand him my heart and let him feel it. Only then would he know what he has done for my family. It is beyond anything a word could describe, it is a feeling.”
The family invited Laureano to their house, setting up an emotional meeting for Adrianna.
“Adriana fell apart as soon as she saw the sight of his car on our drive — not in a sad way, but in an overwhelmed, appreciative way,” Jessy said.
“Within seconds of him arriving, she was in his arms thanking him for saving her life, which is where she stayed for the entire evening.”
Adrianna may be only 7 years old, but she has endured more with her health than most will in their lifetime. Her young age doesn’t mean the importance of Laureano’s donation is lost on her.
“Adri might only be 7 years old, but her heart and mind are wise — she knows how incredible this gift of life was,” Jessy said.
Laureano was swarmed by hugs and tears from Adrianna and her twin sister the entire evening. He was touched and was happy that his sacrifice had made such an impact.
“You never know the endless possibilities of life that could occur from your one small gesture – overflowing emotions and a life-long bond that will never be broken,” Laureano said.