DUARTE, Calif. -- An eight-year old who successfully battled leukemia met her bone marrow donor for the first time.
Zuleika Flores received a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope Hospital in Duarte. She was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.
She returned with her family to meet her donor, Rosendo Moreno, a corrections officer and father from Illinois who decided to donate bone marrow years ago after watching a commercial about donation. He signed up for the Be The Match bone marrow registry seven years before Zuleika was even born.
“I said to myself, 'Man, that’s pretty cool. If something were to happen to my boy I’d really like someone to step forward and do this for him,'” Moreno said. “So that’s what really made my decision.”
Moments before Zuleika met Moreno, her dad said a few words to the man who saved his daughter.
“I want to thank Rosendo Moreno for doing what he did for my daughter,” John Carlos Flores said. “She wouldn’t be here without his help, so Rosendo, big thanks to you brother.”
Zuleika also thanked him for his donation right before running to give him a hug.
“I could never thank you enough for donating your bone marrow so I could get better. Thank you,” she said.
“I look forward to watching her grow up, I’ll tell you that,” Moreno said.
Zuleika will never forget the moment she finally met her match.