Lifesaving gift donated from Germany to Kentucky - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Lifesaving gift donated from Germany to Kentucky

Sam Miller (left) and Christian Rennertz Sam Miller (left) and Christian Rennertz

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Every year thousands of people, of all ages, are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell or other life threatening diseases. 

The good news is we all have the power to help and the power to give hope. 

Seventy percent of patients facing these life threatening diagnoses do not have a matching marrow donor in their family. They depend on the millions in the world they don't yet know - people just like you and me, people just like Christian Rennertz.

Every four minutes, a person is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Sam Miller is one of those people.

Miller has been diagnosed with cancer twice, and the second time he had to wait two and a half years to meet the man with his lifesaving marrow.

"For the first two years we're not allowed to know anything about each other except age and gender," Miller explained.

Christian Rennertz was a match and without Christian's registration on the match registry Miller said he wouldn't be here.

"We share the same blood, same DNA, same chromosomes now, except for the hair," said Rennertz. "

"I donated in one day. It felt so good to know that there's somebody out there who needs your help. It felt so good that I knew he's still alive."

Alive, kicking and only about 5,000 miles away in Louisville, Kentucky while Rennertz was in Germany.

Rennertz explained, "My heart was beating all the time. I was so nervous. My hands are still shaking."

But what can't be shaken now is their life long bond.

"I have a great quality of life now and a new family," Miller said.

July is African-American Bone Marrow Donor awareness month. Only 7 percent of listed donors are African-American. It's the same in the Asian community and 10 percent in the Hispanic community.

It is important that people between the ages of 18 through 44 register because siblings have only a 30 percent chance of matching.

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