Unlikely bone marrow match binds two families

HOUSTON As a special counselor for Alief ISD and a mother of two, one of whom is deaf and blind, Laura Klubert is right in her element helping kids and giving back.

So six years ago when she was asked to join the Bone Marrow Registry while donating blood, she quickly said yes not even thinking her decision would save a life.

"It was just a small gift, it was just a small gift and he's living," Klubert said.

Klubert is of British descent and clearly Caucasian. She assumed when she found out there was a match, her bone marrow recipient would have leukemia and look like her.

The transplant was in July of 2009. This past July, she was finally able to put a name and a face to the person in Virginia she had helped.

"It just sent a chill from one end to the other," Klubert said.

We spoke with 14-year-old Nile Price through Skype.

"We were shocked. We were really shocked," he said.

By all accounts, Price was an unlikely recipient. He's African American, male and a lot younger than 49-year-old Klubert, but they were a perfect match.

"As grateful as I was, I was confused," said Nile's mother, Deborah Price.

And now Price, who battled sickle cell anemia for 13 years, is disease free.

"Yeah, I'd call it a miracle," he said.

Miracle, maybe; medical rarity, yes.

"There was God's hand here," Klubert said.

"It does have something to do with mixing the population in the United States," said Dr. Stefan Ciurea from MD Anderson.

Ciurea said there's a 5 percent chance a person of another race would be a perfect match to an unrelated recipient.

"He refers to me as auntie Laura," Klubert said.

She is now part of the Price family.

"We talk like we've known each other forever," Deborah Price said.

She checks Price's online journal weekly and also keeps in touch by phone.

"Nile has said you're my hero and I say, 'Sweetie you're my hero, you're my hero,'" Klubert said.

"Did she save your life?" we asked Price.

"Yes ma'am, she saved my life and gave me a better life," he replied.

The youngest of triplets, Price takes 15 different medications daily and is working to rebuild his stamina. His little sister also has sickle cell anemia. Still, the Prices haven't missed a teaching moment.

"It has taught us to, the more I think, open our eyes outside of where we are," Deborah Price said.

Help comes from the most unexpected places.

"It was just the right thing to do," Klubert said.

Now they hope they can say their thank-yous in person.

"I would love for Nile and his whole family to come here. They've never been to Texas," Klubert said.

"A face-to-face thank you, a face to face, mother-to-mother hug, that would mean all the world to me because she's given me my child," Deborah Price said.

For that face-to-face thank you, the Prices hope to come to Texas for their first family vacation in years.

You can help them by donating to the Nile Price Assistance Fund C/O Pastor Noah Mitchell at any Wachovia Bank. You can also help by joining the Bone Marrow Registry. Thousands of patients are waiting for transplants. There is especially a need for African American donors.

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