Twin sisters Elizabeth and Kathryn Girtler, 9, could not speak German, but their warm hugs were understood by Ingo Gruda, their bone marrow donor.
The twins were diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia. This disease left them without blood platelets. If left untreated, the twins’ organs will shut down. Death is only a matter of time.
Their mom Michele, their dad, Brett, 45, and their brother, LeeRoy, 13 were tested negative. When the twins’ result came out, they were immediately put on the Be Match list on Mayo Clinic. After a nervous waiting period, a match was found.
Twins’ Meet Donor From Germany
“You become breathless. Our heart kind of skips a beat because then all of a sudden the unknown is going to happen. There are still so many complications or things that could go wrong even though you have a donor,” Michele said in an interview with TODAY.
The twins had underwent separate transplant surgeries. Elizabeth had hers in 2011, and Kathryn in 2012.
They need to observe how the body will recover after the transplant. It was a high-risk operation. The Girtler family almost lived in the hospital for three years.
During the Be Match gala night on Sept.15, the girls finally met Gruda after the organization flew Gruda from Germany to the US.
Elizabeth and Kathryn talked excitedly and an interpreter translated everything to Gruda. It was an emotional meet-up.
Today, the twins are 100 percent cured and recovered. If you want to know more and help save a life, visit Be Match.
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