A six-year-old Regina boy’s dream came true when he was able to meet the woman who helped save his life after he was diagnosed with a rare disease at just three years old.
“It feels amazing. It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for all these years to get to meet the lady who saved our son’s life,” Erica Honoway said.
At the age of three, Honoway’s son Lincoln was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a bone marrow disease that prevented his body from producing enough new blood cells.
“I had four healthy kids one moment, and the next moment we had the sickest kid in town,” Honoway said.
After waiting eight months for a bone marrow transplant, Lincoln found his one and only match — a Colorado woman by the name of Ann Gallagher — through Canadian Blood Service’s OneMatch registry.
“They only had one available identified match for Lincoln,” Honoway said. “Not his siblings, not anyone else in the world, only Ann. It had to be her, or I don’t know what would have happened.”
Because of OneMatch’s policy, the family had to wait two years before meeting the donor, and on Sept. 12, 2018, Ann Gallagher finally reached out via email.
“I automatically felt like I had a bigger family and I thought it would be cool if they wanted to include me in their family,” Gallagher said.
On Saturday, Gallagher flew in to officially meet the Honoways. The teacher and mother of three, who was once a complete stranger, is now considered part of the family.
“You read about the stories and now you’re part of one,” Gallagher said. “It’s fun to have extended my family.”
Gallagher will spend the next few days in Regina getting to know the family better.
Lincoln is now healthy and thriving, all thanks to his perfect match.
“To know the connection they have, they’ll dance together at his wedding one day,” Honoway said. “I wish I had the words to know how to thank her. I just hope she sees this thriving little man, and that’s all the thanks we can give her.”
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Honoway now wants to share her family’s story, hoping to encourage others to sign up and become a donor.
“Anyone 17 to 35 can get on the One Match bone marrow registry, and the Gift of Life registry goes up to age 44 and that’s available online,” Honoway said. “Anyone who is in that age group, I encourage you to get on the registry. You could save a life like Lincoln’s.”