BOSTON - When Franklin Police Deputy Chief Jim Mill joined the bone marrow registry 20 years ago, he didn’t think much of it at the time.
"I was literally sitting in my front yard working, and my brother pulled up in his car. He’s a trooper and he said, ‘Hey, there's a little boy in Holliston that’s sick. He needs bone marrow, so we have to go give blood,'” Mill said.
He wasn’t a match for that little boy. However, a few months later, he got a call that would change his life.
20 years ago, the deputy police chief @franklinpolice donated bone marrow to an 11-year-old girl who was fighting leukemia. Today, thanks to him, she’s 32 and cancer free. It’s a story of two great people I’m so honored to tell - on Boston 25 News tonight at 6:50 pic.twitter.com/2B4sga2d8w— Jessica Reyes (@jessicamreyes) November 17, 2017
“I got a call from the Red Cross saying I was a potential match for somebody, and would I be willing to donate bone marrow. So of course you're gonna say yes,” he said.
He had the bone marrow taken from his hips at Mass General. At the time, his son was nine weeks old, and his daughter was two.
It turned out the recipient was an 11-year-old girl from Chicago who was fighting leukemia, and a bone marrow transplant was her last chance. Today, thanks to Jim’s donation, Kristine Michelotti is now 32 — and cancer free.
"I’m very thankful for Jim. He means the world to me. Every time I talk about him, I’m just smiling all the time," she said.
About a year after the transplant, they finally met at an event in Connecticut.
"We were all crying, just thankful for what he has done for me,” Michelotti said.
It’s not only changed her life. Two decades later, Jim says it’s one of the best decision he’s ever made.
"It’s amazing. It’s incredible how quick it went by, like the blink of an eye. But it feels like she’s part of the family, and I am part of her family,” Mill said.
All it takes today to enter the registry is a swab the inside of your cheek. If you’re interested in joining, you’ll find all the information at bethematch.org.
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