Stefan Bewley saved the life of a 9-year-old boy.
A grad student from Atascadero, Ca., Bewley had given blood at a drive on campus. Then, later, after he had nearly forgotten about it, he got a call from Boston ‘s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute informing him that he had the same genetic markers as a boy in Worcester, Ma., who was expected to die of leukemia. Would Bewley donate his bone marrow so the child would live?
“I felt like I had won the lottery,” Bewley says now, adding it ‘s a one in 20, 000 chance of matching with a stranger. “Who would pass up the opportunity to save someone’s life? It took me 10 minutes to think about it.” Doctors extracted the marrow from Bewley ‘s hipbone through a needle in his lower back. Now, the child, Jake Von Stein, is a healthy fourth grader who runs and throws softballs.
Tami Von Stein, the boy’s mother, says: “I didn’t know (Bewley) but I knew I would love him forever.” When they all finally met, they say, it was like a shower of love.
“Love definitely is one of the greatest rewards of life, ” Bewley says, adding they’ve all become like family. “I’m a big believer that helping other people helps you back. It’s hard to explain, but it’s hard to feel better than this.”
The experience, he says, was for him a big wake-up call. “I realized our actions have a profound impact on others.
“Saving Jake’s life taught me to act on my impulses. Before, I would think, I should volunteer for this. I should call a friend. I should write a card to somebody who is sick.
“Now, I follow through on those impulses. I take advantage of the opportunities given to me. I’ve learned our actions really affect other people.”