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Cancer survivor meets bone marrow donor who saved his life

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CHICAGO – Last February, Michael Beltrame was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of white blood cells.

The cancer treatment destroyed the 42-year-old man’s immune system, so he needed an infusion of bone marrow cells.

And that’s where 23-year-old David Kennedy comes into the picture. He says he was inspired to donate bone morrow by his college football teammate.

“We had a teammate who donated and was successful and that inspired our coach to sign us up,” Kennedy said. “I got a call and they asked me to test to see if I would be able to donate, and it all worked out.”

Doctors say Beltrame is now in remission and likely cured, and he can back to his life of raising his children three teenage children.

While Kennedy made a big impact on Beltrame’s life, the pair had never met. Then Sunday they got together at Loyola’s Cardinal Bernadin Cancer Center in Maywood.

“Thank god I had a donor who thought of other people, my wife who helped me through everything and kept me strong and my kids – my 3 kids who kept me strong,” Beltrame said after meeting Kennedy. “Now, I have all my energy back. I can walk. Eat again. And I end up watching my Bears now to.”

Kennedy is now encouraging others to sign up, so they too can help to save a life.