DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Wearing a shirt that said, “Made in America with German Parts,” Milda Arlauskas, 54, anxiously waited Monday for someone she’d never met.
“That says, ‘Claus is our hero,’” she said, pointing to a sign she made in German.
The Heath grandmother received a deadly diagnosis five years ago and was, as she said, “lying in bed dying.”
“At the time, she had everything stacked against her,” said Dr. Vikas Bhushan, with Texas Oncology at Medical City Dallas.
Arlauskas was diagnosed with breast cancer. She tried chemotherapy to beat the disease, but then got leukemia from the treatment. She would need a bone marrow transplant to live.
And Claus Biebel was the perfect match.
“I can’t find the words for what a miracle this man is,” she said. “He has given me life. I get to play with my grandchildren. I get to work with my husband. I get to see my friends. None of this would be possible.”
Biebel said he joined the International Bone Marrow Registry in the 1980s hoping to help a friend. Though he was too late then, his donation saved Arlauskas’ life.
“I’m so happy, it’s the greatest day in my life! Yeah,” Biebel said.
Arlauskas, a Serbia-native, said her parents were in the same area as Biebel.
Now, they’ll give him a tour of Texas. They are also hoping to use the time to remind people to register to become a bone marrow donor. All it takes is a swab of the cheek to do it.
“Sometimes, it’s really reassuring,” Bhusan. “It makes your profession worth it to see patients like her doing so well.”
For information on how to become a donor, click here.