Sofia (Germany) and Dobrivoje (Serbia)

In July 2015, my family was so happy that we found to buy new, bigger flat that suits us all. Our children, Sofija 13 and Jovan 11 have grown up and we needed more space. There were only few formalities left to be finalized with the bank for the mortgage and we were free to go for summer vacation next week.

Among those formalities to be done was a medical check, related to expansion of my life insurance policy. It was never a problem, so it came as a surprise when some blood test results were not ideal and additional tests were required. Even then, it seemed just as small inconvenience, which within only 24 hours turned sour. Despite I felt great the results were telling that it was not going to be so for long. I was diagnosed with acute leukemia and was admitted to the hospital day after for further tests and treatment. Our world was turned upside down.

For days, I hoped that I was dreaming and having nightmare and that tomorrow I would have woke up in my bedroom and go to work as normal. But my reality was the hospital with chemo therapy and everything it brings. Doctors said that chemo was not enough and stem cell transplantation is the best solution for me. As my brother wasn’t a match, they looked for the donor in the register, first domestic and then international.

In February 2016, I have received stem cells from unknown young lady from Germany. Through months of recovery I have thought about her and felt so grateful for everything she did for me. I wished she knew I was getting better. I wished I could share with her relief and joy after every medical check, I wished she could see me heading for work again 6 month after transplant. I wished she could see our family getting back to normal. I wished she was there when we moved in the flat we bought back then when I was diagnosed, the coincidence which probably saved my life due to early discovery of leukemia.

My wish became true during one weekend in April 2018. I got in touch with my donor through the Bone Marrow Donor Register and she accepted to be our guest in Belgrade.  The feelings at the encounter are impossible to describe. Though we met her for the first time, we shortly realized that we all felt as she’s forever been a member of our family. And her name was Sofia, same as my daughter’s.

Spring time and beautiful weather helped to make that weekend we spent together just perfect. And we also managed to visit Serbian BMDR office shortly before she left.

Sofia is now 21 and I am 44. She was only 18 when donated and her name spent only a month in the German register before she was found to be my match and asked to donate her stem cells. It all happened so quickly for her, and was a true God’s blessing for me. From her words we have learned about her beautiful family in Germany and are looking forward to meet them one day. They must be great people, having such a nice daughter like Sofia.

Though we live 2000km away, we are in frequent contact. I am sure we’ll stay in touch and meet again, soon.