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Man helps save child’s life with stem cell donation

Published: Jun. 6, 2021 at 5:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -A Northeast Arkansas man made a donation that saved the life of a child, but it all came as a surprise.

The Monette native and recent Arkansas State University graduate is now a lifesaver.

Dax Hurst registered with the DKMS stem cell center his freshman year at ASU. He knew about the organization and after talking with a friend, they both decided to register.

Almost a year passed and Hurst got an unexpected call.

“I was just shocked at first, it was totally unexpected. I was actually in the middle of a rice field working doing research,” says Hurst.

DKMS matched him with baby Arian, who has autoimmune deficiencies.

After weeks of lab work and physicals, DKMS started the process to harvest stem cells from Hurst.

His donation to baby Arian started off as bone marrow then changed to plasma stem cells.

“To be able to have an impact on somebody’s life on a family’s life, to be play a part in that and be a part of that, it just means a lot,” he says.

During the process and a year after the donation is given, the organization does not allow anyone to know each other.

During that time, Hurst wrote a letter to the family asking about Arian.

The letter never made it to them, but DKMS and the Today Show teamed up to make sure Hurst and Arian could meet.

Hurst explains their atmosphere during the first meeting, “It was emotional, I think, for everybody. You know it was awesome just for everybody to see, to know that it worked and be able to see him and hug him, and things like that.”

Hurst surprised Arian and his family with smiles and gifts.

Hurst said seeing Arian in person made giving the donation 10 times better.

“It’s just been one of the craziest most rewarding experiences of my life,” he adds.

The chances of getting matched with someone are very slim because not many people are registered to be donors.

Hurst urges more people to sign up to save more lives.

“There is a such a rare chance of matching and that’s another reason why we need more people. It’s just so hard to find that match,” he says.

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