News

Miracle match: Man diagnosed with leukemia finds bone marrow match in son

Martin family leukemia match
Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 22:43:33-05

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Things haven't been the same for 48-year-old Paul Martin since one day at work last year in September.

“I wasn’t really feeling well, a little dizzy and lightheaded. I ended up passing out," Martin said.

After a visit to the doctor's office and several blood tests, he received a devastating phone call.

“From the oncologist stating that I had AML, which is acute myeloid leukemia, which was a little shocker," Martin said.

He was admitted to the University of Michigan, where he spent about eight weeks in the hospital getting treatment including chemotherapy.

Martin was able to head home to his family in Dearborn before Christmas but was back in the hospital after catching COVID-19.

“I was in the hospital for seven to eight days. I had a stroke and pneumonia and if I wasn’t vaccinated, they said I would’ve died," he explained.

While fighting COVID-19, Martin was still waiting on a bone marrow match.

For many people diagnosed with Leukemia, their only hope for some type of cure is a bone marrow transplant.

Finding a donor who has healthy blood cells to put in the patient's body is a challenge.

“I hit a third match, which was amazing, but the person never responded," Martin told 7 Action News.

Doctors told him he was running out of options.

“When they said our son could donate, it wasn’t our first choice," Martin’s wife Patty said.

Doctors explained to Paul and his wife that their 14-year-old Pauly is a half-match donor.

“It’s hard to put that pressure on somebody so young," Patty Martin said.

The teenager told us there was no pressure; it's what he wants to do.

“It is a big thing to handle and once they brought it up and I’m still thinking, I can do it," Pauly said.

It was a chance to save his father’s life.

“It’s one of the greatest things is that he is doing this to save my life at this point," Paul Martin said.

In two weeks, Pauly will go in for his donation procedure.

After additional tests and radiation, his dad will be able to receive his transplant.

Patty Martin says there are so many people out there waiting on a match.

She's using her husband's story to encourage people to join the registry at bethematch.org to help save someone's life.

“They will send you a kit. You swab it inside your mouth and send it back and you’re on the registry," Patty Martin said.

Once you're on the registry and you match a patient, you'll get a call to start the donation process.

This teenager has some advice for anyone who gets that call

“If you ever have a chance to do something like this, do it. Take it right away," Pauly said.

For more information on how to become a donor click, visit bethematch.org.

The family also set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to go toward medical expenses. To donate, visit the family’s GoFundMe page.