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New Bedford woman meets German man who saved her life with stem cell donation


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    NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts (WBZ) — There is no question in Deborah Sousa’s mind that miracles do come true. She’s a living example.

“I would not be here right now if it wasn’t for him. He saved my life. It’s amazing,” said the New Bedford grandmother of six.

Seven years ago, she was given only three months to live after being diagnosed with cancer. “I had to go to a specialist, which I did. And that’s when he did a bone marrow biopsy, and he told me I had acute leukemia and if I don’t get help, I would dead in three months,” Sousa said.

Just three days prior to her grim diagnosis, in Germany, 29-year-old Christian Stober decided to make a stem cell donation that happened to be the perfect match for Sousa. A month later, her levels improved.

“Before you knew it – 3 months later – I was cancer free. It’s a wonderful feeling to be alive,” she said.

Sousa was determined to thank the stranger who saved her from across the world. Five years ago, they connected through letters and text messages and have been friends ever since. This summer, Stober made a trip to Boston with his family, and the two came face to face for the very first time.

“We were standing at the window waiting for him to come. How do you thank someone for giving you life, you know?” she said. The two families had a huge celebration. They visited museums and made lasting memories. “We invited him to stay at our house with his wife and three kids – wonderful family.”

Sousa is so grateful for her second chance at life and has a very important message for others who are facing similar circumstances: “Don’t ever give up. There is help out there. Please, I just wish more people would donate. It’s an amazing thing to do. It doesn’t cost you anything.”

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