Houston father gets second chance at life

September 3, 2013 6:50:47 PM PDT
Every one of us has had a loved one or friend touched by cancer. Often we feel there's nothing we can do, but there is.

ABC13 is helping to do something about cancer. The Be The Match program has saved thousands, but thousands more could survive cancer if you, our viewers, would join the registry.

We have the story of one family whose lives were changed when a stranger chose to be a match.

"They keep asking, 'Daddy's not sick anymore?'" said Kimberly Stoeck, of her children. "And we tell them, 'Daddy's not sick anymore.'"

Kimberly and Chris Stoeck's three young children couldn't remember a time when their father wasn't sick. The cancer in his neck, chest and under his arms could not be stopped, not by eight chemotherapies, radiation treatments and even a stem cell transplant using his own cells.

His Hodkin's lymphoma was finally stopped this summer by a bone marrow transplant from a stranger.

"Chris' donor has literally given us back his life," said Kimberly.

"That gives me a second opportunity to live a longer, more productive life," said Chris. "It's just an awesome thing.

For two years, Chris had gotten nothing but bad news. Even his MD Anderson doctor agreed the bone marrow transplant was his last chance.

"He has had some very good news and I would say he hasn't had for a few years," said MD Anderson transplant specialist Dr. Paolo Anderlini. "His disease just kept coming back and now finally it seems to be under control."

Chris' wife, Kimberly, has long been a believer in being a donor. She's been on the Be the Match list for 20 years. And though she wasn't a match for her husband, she's grateful to the person who was.

"Please get on the registry," she said. "You may be that one person that saves someone's life."

They've written a letter of thanks and are hoping that next year they can say it in person.

All through the month of September, we're encouraging people to get on the registry. We've got a section on abc13.com devoted to how you can save someone's life. It's all at abc13.com/MonthtoMatch.

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