MAYNARD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Patrick Languzzi had his life saved by a stem cell donor from the U.K. and now he's working to try to return the favor.
Languzzi was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder in 2014 which eventually led to a leukemia diagnosis in 2018. After months of complications, the only option for Languzzy was to get a stem cell transplant. However, the only issue was he needed a perfect genetic match for his treatment and did not have one in his family.
That's when a man from Chorley, England stepped up to save his life. Alex Christopher was a stem cell donor and it turns out, he was a 100 percent genetic match with Languzzi.
"Alex happened to be my match, so he's my genetic twin, and at the time there were 10 million people in the registry," Languzzi said. "He saved my life."
It turns out Christopher had originally become a stem cell donor to try to help out a friend of his named Pete McCleave, who also had blood cancer. Now that Languzzi has recovered, he wants to return the favor to the man who helped save his life.
Languzzi started a campaign to get people to sign up to become stem cell donors. He said he hopes to find a donor for McCleave and the many other people that are in need of a perfect genetic match.
"Certainly we'll help anyone that needs help, but really my drive right now is to help him because he helped me," Languzzi said.
He's partnered with DKMS, an organization that works to fight blood disorders and blood cancers. His campaign, Pay It Back With Patrick, is hoping to register 100 new people to become stem cell donors.
WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) has the story.